Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 co-design process

Before the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 comes into operation, the Government needs to develop the regulations, statutory guidelines and operational policies to support the new Act and ensure it will have its intended effects.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 (ACH Act) provides a modern framework for the recognition, protection, conservation and preservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage while recognising the fundamental importance of Aboriginal cultural heritage to Aboriginal people. 

It represents a significant step towards achieving equity in the relationship between Aboriginal people, industry and Government by replacing outdated Aboriginal cultural heritage laws and removing the controversial Section 18 approval process in favour of agreement making with Aboriginal people. 

View the Act

Call for Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council nominations

Nominations are sought from experienced and qualified individuals with knowledge about, or experience in matters relating to, Aboriginal cultural heritage to become members of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti invites nominations from those with expertise in areas including archaeology, anthropology, engineering and urban and regional planning among others.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council will be the State's peak strategic body on Aboriginal cultural heritage matters, and will provide advice to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, designate local Aboriginal cultural heritage services and approve Aboriginal cultural heritage permits and Aboriginal cultural heritage management plans.

The Council will comprise of two Aboriginal Chairpersons (one male and one female) and up to nine members, including a majority of Aboriginal people.

Please express your interest by completing the nomination form.

Nominations close at 5pm on Friday 22 July 2022.

Co-design Process

A transitional period until early 2023 will allow for the regulations, statutory guidelines and operational policies to be developed. A Reference Group has been appointed to oversee a co-design process with Aboriginal people and other stakeholders. 

The co-design process was launched at an event on Tuesday, 29 March 2022. 

The first phase of co-design is complete with the closing of submissions on 27 May 2022. 

The second phase of co-design will begin on Monday July 18 and will run until Saturday 6 August. Workshops will be held in 34 locations across the State.

Phase two - workshop locations

Register to attend one of the workshops in the following locations

  • Statewide Online Workshop
  • Mid-West
  • Pilbara
  • Gascoyne
  • Kimberley
  • Goldfields-Esperance
  • Great Southern
  • Peel, South West and Wheatbelt
  • Perth Metropolitan 

Phase one submissions

Completed workshops

Workshops have taken place in:

  • Albany - 26 April
  • Armadale - 5 May
  • Broome - 28 April
  • Bunbury - 4 May
  • Carnarvon - 5 May
  • Esperance - 28 April
  • Geraldton - 13 May
  • Kalgoorlie - 2/3 May
  • Karratha - 3 May
  • Kununurra - 26 April
  • Perth CBD - 29 April
  • Port Hedland - 2 May
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act co-design workshops PowerPoint presentation

Fact sheets

What we are co-designing

A range of regulations, statutory guidelines and operational policies need to be developed to support the ACH Act. This includes:

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Code fact sheet
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan Template

Reference Group 

The Government appointed the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Reference Group (reference group) comprising of four members from the Aboriginal community, industry and government. 

Ms Merle Carter is a senior Cultural woman of the Miriuwong Gajerrong people and the Bunuba people. Ms Carter has a significant connection to the Kimberley region through her current and previous involvement on the boards of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Binarri-binyja yarrawoo and Kimberley Land Council. She is also a current member of both the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee, Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee and Aboriginal Advisory Council of WA.

Mr Lindsay Dean is a traditional owner of the Wagyl Kaip and Southern Noongar region in Noongar country and Karijarri Bard Nimanboor in the West Kimberley. Mr Dean has a deep understanding of Aboriginal cultural heritage and sound working knowledge of the Aboriginal Heritage and Native Title legislations. Mr Dean has worked across Aboriginal affairs for many years and has experience working with the Aboriginal community, public, government and non-government organisations. Mr Dean is a current member of the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee and Wadjemup Aboriginal Reference Group, as well as being actively involved with the Karajarri Traditional Lands Association and South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.

Ms Bronwyn Bell is the industry representative on the ACH Reference Group. In her most recent role at the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME), she had responsibility for policy development and advocacy affecting the resources sector including for exploration, heritage, climate change, environment and tenure. Prior to joining CME, Ms Bell spent 15 years working as an environmental professional for various mining operations across Australia, and has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement, environmental approvals and compliance.

Mr Anthony Kannis is the Director General for the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH). He has more than four decades of experience in the public sector, most recently serving as the Program Director of METRONET.
The first meeting of the reference group was held on 16 February 2022. The first task for the reference group is to inform and guide the creation of a co-design process that ensures all interested stakeholders have an opportunity to take part in this significant reform.

Our co-design principles

There are eight principles that will support the co-design process:

  • cultural sensitivity
  • empathy, Respect, Trust and Safe Participation
  • inclusiveness
  • iterative
  • solutions focussed
  • equal Partnership
  • transparent
  • integrity.

The new Act prescribes a number of guidance documents and supporting materials that need to be co-designed, which include:

  • Land Use Activity Categories
  • timeframes
  • ACH Management Code
  • Management Plans
  • Fee for Service Guidelines
  • Consultation Guidelines
  • Knowledge Holder Guidelines
  • Outstanding Significance Guidelines
  • State Significance Guidelines
  • defining ‘Substantially Commenced’.

Contact and feedback

If you are interested in participating in the co-design process, or would like to be kept up to date with all the latest news about the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021, please subscribe to our mailing list. 

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Page reviewed 4 July 2022