New Guidelines Released for WA’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Laws

Published on Wednesday, 24 May 2023 at 1:00:00 PM

Key guidelines supporting Western Australia’s new Aboriginal cultural heritage laws have been released by the State Government.

The guidelines contain details about consultation requirements, fee structures, and categories of land use activities. They are designed to provide a balanced approach to protecting and managing Aboriginal cultural heritage, and enable the continuation of economic activity such as farming and mining.

Since the new laws were passed by Parliament in December 2021, there has been an extensive co-design process to develop the guidelines in line with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021. This Act prioritises consultation with Aboriginal people about any land use activities that may impact their cultural heritage.

Input from more than 1000 people who attended workshops across metropolitan, regional and remote areas was considered in developing the guidelines. Submissions and feedback from engagement with Traditional Owners, Aboriginal people, landowners, and industry representatives was also taken into account.

The guidelines and related documents will guide advocates and support Aboriginal people in navigating Western Australia's new framework. Land use activities will fall into four categories, determining if the activity is exempt, does not need formal approval, or may require a permit/more comprehensive cultural heritage management plan.

The relevant Aboriginal people will need to be notified of any permit application, and a management plan will need to be developed in consultation with the appropriate Aboriginal people for that land.

Aboriginal organisations can choose to be designated as a Local Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Service, which will give them a greater say in these processes.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 will take effect from 1 July 2023.

To view the documents and find more information about the new laws, visit the WA Government online.

To discuss any land use queries or concerns with us, please contact Development Services on 9574 9340.

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