Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Reference Group

The Government appointed the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Reference Group (reference group) comprising of four members from the Aboriginal community, industry and government. 
Last updated: 4 July 2022

Members of the Reference Group

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.

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’.