Information for land users

Information regarding the NSHA for WA Government, Local Government Authorities, planners, developers and private land users.

Aboriginal Heritage due diligence

Land users planning activities within the Settlement area that may require an Aboriginal heritage survey can in the first instance contact the department and should be familiar with the Aboriginal Heritage Due Diligence Guidelines.

The NSHA’s definition for a survey is as follow, however a survey can be conducted without any prompt linked to land use and a survey can be for identification purposes only e.g. identifying Aboriginal sites along a waterway.

"survey conducted to assess the potential impacts of Activities on Aboriginal Heritage, whether or not conducted under this NSHA and may include anthropological, ethnographic or archaeological investigations as appropriate".

Leaving Aboriginal Heritage matters until late in the planning process can lead to unnecessary delays and costs. The department’s Aboriginal Heritage Inquiry System  (AHIS) can identify Aboriginal sites and the six ILUA Areas (Settlement Area) have been incorporated into the AHIS. 

Search the AHIS for ‘Registered sites’ or ‘other heritage places’ using the drop-down category ‘Native Title SW Settlement ILUA’ - AHIS incorporates the Register of Aboriginal Sites.

WA Government land users

Prior to the commencement of the Settlement all WA Government land users including departments, agencies and instrumentalities who wish to conduct an Aboriginal heritage survey within the South West Settlement Area, are required to enter into a NSHA with the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) on behalf of the relevant Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) Group, unless they have a pre-existing heritage agreement and wish to continue it. Any NSHAs signed during this interim period will automatically transfer to the relevant Noongar Regional Corporation(s). The relevant Noongar Regional Corporations will then, once established, be the signatories to all new NSHAs.

Contact the South West Settlement Heritage team for guidance.

Local Government authorities

Local Government Authorities are not a party to the Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) and not bound to follow the NSHA. However, both the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) recognise that a consistent approach to Aboriginal heritage in the Settlement Area is important.

WALGA, SWALSC and DPLH have collaborated and have finalised a Noongar Heritage Agreement template tailored to local government regulations. This will be known as the Noongar Heritage Agreement for Local Government (NHALG) template. 

However due to resourcing issues SWALSC is currently not in a position to enter NHALGs with Local Government Authorities, or in a position to respond to Local Government Authorities in relation to Aboriginal heritage site enquiries. Instead SWALSC has requested that until advised further Local Government Authorities should direct their queries directly to DPLH for advice.

Contact the South West Settlement Heritage team for guidance.

 NSHA Working Group

The NSHA Working Group comprises of relevant staff from the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and WA Government agencies that have signed onto the NSHA and have ongoing NSHA responsibilities. The Working Group:

  • considers all matters arising from the implementation of the NSHA from both the perspectives of the WA Government and the SWALSC, and in time from the position of the six Noongar Regional Corporations
  • provides statistics, updates and communications related to the use of the NSHA
  • contributes to the development of resources and templates to complement the NSHA.

Get involved with the NSHA Working Group by contacting the department’s South West Settlement Heritage team.

NSHA resources

Page last reviewed 12 November 2020
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