Changes to Aboriginal Heritage Protection - Draft Regulations

 Following the recent changes to the heritage provisions of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW), the Draft National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2010 have been released for consultation.   

ACTION ALERT! LALCs have only a few weeks remaining to review the Draft Regulations. 

What changes to the National Parks and Wildlife Actwere passed? NSWALC has developed a short Fact Sheet for LALCs which explains the main changes that were passed to the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW) last month. A copy of this Fact Sheet is enclosed.   

For more information about the legislative changes see the NSWALC Culture and Heritage webpage at http://www.alc.org.au/issues/culture--heritage.aspx, which includes a copy of the final Bill as passed through Parliament, and recent Network Message by NSWALC Chair Bev Manton.

The NSW Government has advised that the changes will not be brought into effect until the new Regulations have been finalised. The current timeline is 1 October 2010. 

What do the Draft Regulations say?  The Draft National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2010 outlines many of the details of how the new Aboriginal heritage changes will work, in practice. A summary of the Regulations is included in the enclosed Fact Sheet, but in brief the Draft Regulations include: 

  • Details of the new defences which will be available to a person who harms an Aboriginal object where they did not know it existed without a permit from DECCW including:
  • o Where a person followed the steps in a prescribed 'due diligence' Codes of Practice.
  • o Where a person was undertaking a listed 'low impact' activity.
  • What will be defined as 'harm' to an Aboriginal object - including archaeological test activities under the proposed Draft Code of Practice for Archaeological Investigation in NSW.
  • What the minimum requirements will be for Aboriginal community consultation in relation to permits.

In particular the terms of the new due diligence and low impact defences are crucial because they will send a message to individuals and organisations as to what activities they can undertake without a permit from DECCW and without fear of prosecution if an Aboriginal heritage object is harmed.


How do I get a copy of the Draft Regulations?  
The proposed new Draft National Parks and Wildlife Regulations are available to download from the NSWALC website at http://www.alc.org.au/issues/culture--heritage.aspx. Some information is also available from the DECCW website to http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/legislation/NPWamendmentACT2010.htm.

For more information about this Network Message please contact the Policy and Research Unit on 02 9689 444 or by email on policy@alc.org.au.