Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 is a new way of protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage by giving Aboriginal people a much stronger say in managing their cultural heritage.

When the Bill becomes the law, there will be better protection for Aboriginal cultural heritage and more heritage that is important to Aboriginal people will be protected. 

The Bill recognises Aboriginal people as the best people to make decisions about their cultural heritage and to decide what cultural heritage is important. 

The Bill says that Aboriginal people are keepers of their cultural heritage and are the right people to look after ancestral remains (bones from long ago) and their secret and sacred objects.

Miners, developers and other people who want to do work on country that may impact Aboriginal cultural heritage will have to talk to the right Aboriginal people for that area, well before any works starts. 

Aboriginal people can apply to have really important places made Protected Areas. This gives the highest protection possible under the law. These important places can include cultural landscapes. 

The Bill will create the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Directory, where people can put a record of WA’s Aboriginal cultural heritage, for example Aboriginal places and Aboriginal objects.  If it is a secret sacred site, such as secret men’s and women’s Law sites, then the Bill says Aboriginal people can decide if it goes on the Directory.  

The Bill will make people follow rules in the Bill using Aboriginal heritage inspectors.  The time people can be charged after they commit an offence will be changed to 6 years. 

The Bill aims for local Aboriginal cultural heritage services (LACHS) to be set up in each area of WA. Native title holders, by their PBCs, will be first to become a LACHS if they want to.

LACHS will talk to Native Title groups and knowledge holders, monitoring what’s happening on country. 

Better protections for Aboriginal cultural heritage will be achieved through the new Bill.  The 1972 Act doesn’t work and no longer meets community expectations.

Media statement

New Bill to deliver better protection for Aboriginal cultural heritage

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill funding confirmed in State Budget

The Bill

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021

Fact sheets

Short Summary of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill
Detailed Overview of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill
Short Summary: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 - Tiered Assessment Process
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill: Changes following 2020 Bill Consultation

Comparisons

The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 v. Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill
Section 18 process [1972 Act] v. Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill
Registration [1972 Act] v. Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill

User journeys

Prospector wanting to peg a tenement explore and extract material
Local Government Authority wanting to rehabilitate a coastal dune
Page reviewed 18 November 2021