NEW ABORIGINAL CONSULTATION REQUIREMENTS

15 May 2010

The NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) have released a new policy outlining how consultation with the Aboriginal community must be undertaken, before a before a permit authorising damage or disturbance to an Aboriginal object or place is issued. 

The new Requirements and related materials, including fact sheets produced by DECCW can be found on the DECCW website at http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/licences/consultation.htm.

The policy is called the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Consultation requirements for proponents, and replaces the Interim Community Consultation Requirements developed by DECCW in 2005. DECCW has announced that the new policy will apply to all applications lodged from the 12th April 2010.

The new Requirements focus on identifying Aboriginal people who are 'cultural knowledge holders'.

The new Requirements generally state that a person applying for a permit (known as the 'proponent') must:

  • Notify the LALC in writing about a project or development;
  • Write to the LALC to request a list of 'cultural knowledge holders' for the area;
  • Provide the LALC with an opportunity to register and participate in consultations - ie to become a Registered Aboriginal Party;
  • Provide the LALC with a list of the people who have registered to participate in consultations; and
  • Provide the LALC with a copy of the final heritage assessment report on which DECCW will make its decision whether or not to issue a permit (note - a copy of the draft report will not be provided unless the LALC becomes a Registered Aboriginal Party).

However the Requirements also include new conditions for LALCs wanting to 'register' an interest to actively participate in consultations.

FACT SHEET

NSWALC have prepared a Fact Sheet which provides more detail about the new Requirements, including how LALCs can be involved at the different stages of the consultation process. Copies of the Fact Sheet are available from the NSWALC website at www.alc.org.au or by contacting the Policy and Research Unit on 02 9689 4444.

DECCW INFORMATION SESSIONS

DECCW will be holding a series of 18 information sessions across NSW, which commenced on Wednesday 21 April and will conclude on Friday 21 May (see below for a list of locations and dates).

TEMPLATE LETTER LALCS CAN USE TO REGISTER AN INTEREST

The Requirements include a new section 3.3.2 which outlines the role of LALCs. It includes advice regarding how a LALC with relevant 'cultural knowledge' can register an interest in a project.

NSWALC have prepared a Template Letter that LALCs can use to:

Demonstrate why they hold relevant 'cultural knowledge', to register their interest in a project;

  • Notify proponents of other Aboriginal people that the proponent should contact; and
  • Offer paid cultural services.

Important Note: DECCW has advised that the new Requirements are not intended to allow a proponent to refuse to register an interested LALC. If a proponent refuses to allow a LALC to register or participate in consultations, the LALC should urgently contact the NSWALC Policy and Research Unit, and should make an urgent written complaint to DECCW.

NSWALC also encourages LALCs to urgently contact the NSWALC Policy and Research Unit with any comments they have regarding the new Requirements, by phone on 02 9689 4444 or by email on policy@alc.org.au.

CHANGES PROPOSED TO THE NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE REGULATIONS & THE OMNIBUS BILL 2010

As LALCs may be aware the NSW Government is currently progressing amendments to the law under which the Consultation Requirements have been developed, the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

LALCs should refer to the Culture and Heritage page of the NSWALC website or the Policy and Research Unit for the latest update on the progress of these amendments.

The NSW Government has also proposed new Regulations which outline the consultation process. Targeted consultation on the draft Regulations is being held by DECCW and the Office of the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Frank Sartor, until July 2010.

LALCs are strongly encouraged to:

  • Review the draft Regulations, a copy of which are available on the NSWALC website;
  • Provide any comments or feedback to the NSWALC Policy and Research Unit; and
  • Provide written comments to DECCW as soon as possible.

MORE INFORMATION

If you have any questions please urgently contact the Policy and Research Unit of NSWALC on 02 9689 4444 or email policy@alc.org.au.

To view a copy of the detailed submission that NSWALC developed in response to the 2009 Draft Requirements visit the NSWALC website at www.alc.org.au under 'Issues' and 'Culture and Heritage'. Copies of submissions prepared by other organisations in response to the draft version of the DECCW Consultation Requirements are also available through the DECCW website, at http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/licences/IntConsultationReview.htm  

DECCW INFORMATION SESSIONS

 

Date

Time

Place

Address

Location

13 May 2010

9am to 10am

Rydges Hotel

112 Burelli Street

Wollongong

13 May 2010

3pm to 4pm

Nowra Showground

Cnr West and Junetia Street

Nowra

14 May 2010

9am to 10am

Batemans Bay Bowling and
Recreation Club

Cnr Princess Highway and
Vesper Street

Batemans Bay

14 May 2010

2pm to 3pm

Queanbeyan Conference Centre

262 Crawford Street

Queanbeyan

19 May 2010

9am to 10am

Twin Towns Services Club

Wharf Street

Tweed Heads

19 May 2010

1pm to 2pm

Lismore Community Hall

27 Oliver Avenue

Goonellabah

21 May 2010

9:30am to
10:30am

Country Comfort Hotel

86 Barney Street

Armidale

21 May 2010

2pm to 3pm

Tamworth Community Centre

Cnr Peel and Darling Street

Tamworth