Time for Meaningful Protections for Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in NSW

16 June 2022

Support for New Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill in NSW

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) provides our in-principle support for the Hon. Reverend Fred Nile’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (Culture is Identity) Bill 2022.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (Culture is Identity) Bill 2022 (the Bill)is a meaningful starting point to reform Aboriginal culture and heritage protection for future generations of Australians.

The NSWALC Chairperson Danny Chapman says current NSW laws to manage and protect Aboriginal culture and heritage are outdated, inadequate and long-overdue.

“For many decades NSWALC has called on the NSW Parliament and the NSW Government to pursue robust new legislation to better protect Aboriginal culture and heritage in NSW and include Aboriginal people in decision-making processes.

However, NSW remains the only state to continue to manage Aboriginal culture and heritage through flora and fauna legislation – the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

NSWALC understands the Hon. Reverend Nile’s Bill  incorporates NSWALC’s long-standing key reform principles, and will greatly assist in achieving an improved, more efficient and fit for purpose regulatory framework,” he said.

NSWALC’s in-principle support for the Bill is on the basis that new laws will:

  • Be in the hands of Aboriginal people – Aboriginal people will make decisions about ACH, not government
  • Be independent of government
  • Have minimal Ministerial roles/functions
  • Be respectful of cultural and native title rights
  • Be inclusive of native title groups, Aboriginal Owners and land rights
  • Have improved regulatory mechanisms
  • Include increased penalties for harming ACH
  • Have improved objectives and definitions

NSWALC urges all political parties to support reforms that will deliver better protections for ACH and Aboriginal people making decisions about our ACH, in accordance with NSWALC’s principles for reform.

NSWALC continues to advocate for new ACH laws to be urgently considered by the NSW Parliament, and that the Government fully resource reforms, in line with its commitments under Closing the Gap.

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Media Enquiries: media@alc.org.au