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

Work is underway to develop a specific Noongar Heritage Agreement template suitable for Local Government. The WA Local Government Association (WALGA), the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) and DPLH are working together to develop a Noongar Heritage Agreement template tailored to local government regulations and policies.

Local government authorities are not a party to the Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) and not bound to follow the NSHA. However, both WALGA and SWALSC recognise that a consistent approach to Aboriginal heritage in the Settlement Area is important.

Prior to the new template being developed, local governments are encouraged to follow the key heritage elements of the NSHA, including:

•following the Aboriginal Heritage Due Diligence Guidelines to determine whether an activity may pose a risk to Aboriginal heritage and may require a survey

•seeking the names of suitable Aboriginal consultants through the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (or the Noongar Regional Corporations, once established)

•consulting with SWALSC (or the Noongar Regional Corporations, once established) prior to making an application for consent to impact a site under section 18 of the AHA

•following the NSHA’s prescribed schedule of fees, as and where appropriate.

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 8 January 2020
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