New laws that protect and manage Aboriginal heritage in Western Australia have been passed by Parliament and are now in effect.
The amended Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 includes the following improvements:
- Proponents and Native Title parties will have the same right of review for Section 18 decisions via the State Administrative Tribunal, with clear timeframes and an ability for the Premier to call-in a decision of ‘State or regional significance’, to act in the interests of all Western Australians.
- When a Section 18 consent has been granted by the Minister, the landowner will be required to notify the Minister of any new information about an Aboriginal site – an important reform to help prevent another Juukan Gorge tragedy.
- Section 18 Consents will transfer where there is a change in land ownership.
- A new statutory Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Committee, with majority Aboriginal representation and male and female Aboriginal co-Chairs, will make recommendations on Section 18 Notices to the Minister.
All landowners, be they freehold, leasehold, licensee, invitee or citizen, at large have one simple obligation: that is to not knowingly damage an Aboriginal cultural heritage site, which has been the law since 1972.
Landowners can make applications for a Section 18 consent and other approvals through ACHknowledge – a dedicated Aboriginal cultural heritage portal.
For any queries relating to current applications, please contact our office on 6551 8002, and select Option 1 – Use the Enquiry Form