Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council (ACHC) is established under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 to provide a modern framework for the recognition, protection, conservation and preservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage.
Last updated: 24 March 2023

About the Council

As the State's peak strategic body on Aboriginal cultural heritage matters, the functions of the Council are to: 

  • promote the role of Aboriginal people as the right people to speak for their country and determine activities that may cause harm to their cultural heritage
  • provide advice to the State Government and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
  • designate local Aboriginal cultural heritage services (LACHS)
  • set standards to identify, protect and manage Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • facilitate negotiations between proponents and Aboriginal parties when agreement cannot be reached; and
  • promote public awareness, understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal cultural heritage in Western Australia.


Read the media statement: New members sought for Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council


Ms Irene Stainton (Co-Chairperson) 
Term of appointment – September 2022 – September 2024 
Irene is a highly respected Nyoongar Elder with over 30 years of experience in the public sector, having previously served as Registrar of Aboriginal Sites and Chairperson of the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee (ACMC), in addition to other advisory positions at the state and national levels. Irene is a past member of the National Museum of Australia’s Indigenous Reference Group, a former Trustee of the Western Australia Museum and the former Chairperson of the Western Australia Museum’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee. Irene is a past finalist in the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Awards, was awarded the Zonta 2018 Woman of Achievement Award and was inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame in 2019, was a finalist in the 2019 Western Australian of the Year Awards and is a Fellow of the Western Australia Museum. Irene has extensive knowledge and experience in heritage and culture and is Chairperson of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee of the National Trust of Western Australia.

Dr Mark Bin Bakar (Co-chairperson)
Term of appointment – September 2022 – September 2024

Mark is a proud Lunga Kitja man from the Kimberley, whose mother was a Stolen Generation woman. As an advocate for Aboriginal culture and heritage, he is committed to making a difference for the Western Australian community, in particular for his Aboriginal community. Mark is an experienced Board Director and accomplished singer songwriter known for his success in the arts and media industries. He is passionate about truth telling, empowerment of Aboriginal people and transparency within the Aboriginal sector. In 2007, Mark was named the NAIDOC Person of the Year and Western Australia’s Australian of the Year in 2008. 

Ms Merle Carter 
Term of appointment – September 2022 – September 2024

A senior Cultural Woman of the Miriuwong Gajerrong people and the Bunuba people, Merle is also the Chairwoman of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre and a board member of the Kimberley Land Council and Aarnja. 

Mr Graham Castledine
Term of appointment – September 2022 – September 2024

Graham was admitted as a practitioner of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 1987. Since then, he has practiced in a variety of areas including administrative law, local government and town planning, environmental law, native title, and Aboriginal heritage issues. Graham was recently ranked native title lawyer of the year (Perth) by Best Lawyers independent rating agency. Graham became an accredited mediator in 2005. He is a member of the Resolution Institute and the Alternative Dispute Resolution committee of the Law Society. Graham is also accredited under the National Mediator Accreditation System and is listed in Doyles Guide as a leading mediator in WA. In 2007, Graham was the inaugural winner of the Attorney General’s Community Service Law Award in recognition of his outstanding pro bono service to the Western Australian community.

Dr Debbie Fletcher
Term of appointment – September 2022 – September 2024

Debbie has held numerous senior positions in State and Commonwealth governments over the last 30 years in the fields of native title, Aboriginal affairs and land access and holds a PhD in history and anthropology. Currently working as a consultant, Debbie was most recently employed by the WA Department of the Premier and Cabinet as Special Advisor, Native Title and, in this role, worked with the team drafting the ACH Act and facilitated several consultation workshops led by the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage.

Ms Belinda Moharich
Term of appointment – September 2022 – September 2024

Belinda is a planning and environment lawyer with dual qualifications in law and town planning. During her career, she has worked as a lawyer in private practice and for the State Government, and as a decision-maker on Tribunals and the Western Australian Planning Commission. In 2003 she was appointed as the Principal Registrar of the Town Planning Appeal Tribunal (TPAT), where she also sat as a Senior Member. In 2005 she was appointed as one of the inaugural members of the State Administrative Tribunal (WA) (SAT). In 2019, she was appointed as the Deputy Chair of the Western Australian Planning Commission, a position she held until July 2020.  

Mr Kevin Walley
Term of appointment – September 2022 – September 2024

A qualified conservation land manager, with Aboriginal cultural heritage expertise and experience leading Aboriginal corporations.

Membership Expressions of Interest 

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has called for expressions of interest from experienced and qualified individuals to join the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council. Up to four new members with knowledge or experience in Aboriginal cultural heritage will be added to the seven-member Council. 

The Act allows for a total of 11 members on the Council with majority Aboriginal membership required. 

To be eligible for membership, nominees must have knowledge about Aboriginal cultural heritage or have experience in matters relating to Aboriginal cultural heritage. Consideration of knowledge, skills, experience or qualifications in the following disciplines can also be taken into account:

  • anthropology
  • archaeology
  • engineering
  • ethnography
  • governance
  • history
  • land management
  • law
  • natural resource management
  • urban and regional planning.

Applicants will be required to make a substantial commitment in terms of time and expertise to ensuring the Council fulfils its statutory obligations. Upon proclamation of the Act in July 2023, it is anticipated the Council may need to meet on a fortnightly basis. 

Council members will be remunerated and, where applicable, travelling costs will be reimbursed. Council members who are public sector employees are not eligible for reimbursement. Remuneration and allowances for Council members are determined by the Minister on the recommendation of the Public Sector Commission.

Nominations are open until 30 April 2023. 

Nominate now using the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council - membership nomination form.


If you require further information about the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council, please email ACHCCouncil@dplh.wa.gov.au