Urgent Alert: Reform of Aboriginal culture and heritage laws - consultations commencing 1 November


The NSW Government released advice on the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) website on the 20 October advising that consultations on developing options to reform NSW Aboriginal culture and heritage laws are due to commence on the 1 November 2011.

NSWALC also has significant concerns about:
• The hasty commencement of the Government's reform process, and release of the 'Aboriginal heritage legislation in NSW: Public consultation on issues for reform' document prior the new 'working party' being established,
• The exclusion of key Aboriginal community stakeholders, NSWALC and NTSCORP, from the new working party,
• The significantly revised and weakened 'objectives' for the reform,
• The composition of the 'working party' which is dominated by 'experts' appointed by the government, that does not ensure appropriate Aboriginal community representation, and
• The failure by the Government to consult or formally notify key community stakeholders, NSWALC and NTSCORP of any of these changes to the consultation and reform processes.

HAVE YOUR SAY!

Consultations
NSWALC urges Aboriginal community members to raise concerns about the current process at the public consultation workshops.

Submissions
The Office of Environment and Heritage have called for written or verbal submissions by 1 December 2011. NSWALC is urgently working on further detailed advice to help inform the network and Aboriginal communities which is aimed at helping you providing a submission to the Government.
Contact your Local Member of Parliament

NSWALC encourages all LALCs and other members of the community to urgently write to the Premier, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, the Hon. Robyn Parker, and your local MP to raise your concerns with the current process and call for genuine consultation with Aboriginal communities, which includes:
1. An extended consultation period, being not less than 6 months,
2. Greater notice of public consultations, being not less than 1 month, and
3. A more extensive consultation, covering not less than 50 communities.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
NSWALC has developed an Information Sheet about the current broader reform process, and consultation dates. The Information Sheet is available from the NSWALC website (follow the links from the NSWALC home page at to 'Issues' and 'Culture and Heritage').

Other information available on the NSWALC website includes:
• Background papers on Aboriginal Culture and Heritage, including 'Our Sites, Our Rights' which provides a history of reform attempts to date, and
• NSWALC's previous submissions to Government of Aboriginal culture and heritage issues, including the 'More than Flora and Fauna' submission, which provides a comprehensive overview of how the current heritage laws in NSW currently operates, including the issuing of permits by the NSW Government authorising damage and destruction of Aboriginal sites.

The 'Aboriginal heritage legislation in NSW: Public consultation on issues for reform' document developed by the OEH, and consultation dates are available on the OEH website http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/achreform/.

Further advice and resources for LALCs and the Aboriginal community will be released by NSWALC over the coming weeks.

If you have any questions or wish to raise any concerns regarding the broader reform process, please contact the Policy and Research Unit of NSWALC on 02 9689 4444, or email policy@alc.org.au .

Information Sheet:
Broader reform of Aboriginal Culture and Heritage laws in NSW