Aboriginal people urged to have say on culture and heritage bill
23 February 2018
NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) Chair Roy Ah-See has urged Aboriginal people to have their say on a culture and heritage bill released for consultation today.
Cr Ah-See said the NSW Government would convene a number of public workshops, starting next week, on the consultation draft of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2018.
"Culture and heritage reform is vitally important to Aboriginal people. The current laws don't do enough to protect our culture and heritage and don't provide any decision-making rights for Aboriginal people.
"For too long the focus has been on regulating the destruction of our culture and heritage, rather than protect it for future generations.
"Every other State has stand-alone or updated Aboriginal culture and heritage legislation so it's critical that the Land Rights network and Aboriginal people engage in these workshops."
Cr Ah-See said the NSW Government must ensure there is genuine consultation on the Bill and that Aboriginal people are given adequate time to have their say.
"Unfortunately, the NSW Government has given the public barely a week to prepare for these workshops.
"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council has previously provided clear advice that at least one month's notice is given on proposed workshop dates and times.
"It's disappointing to see that our concerns were not considered and we are seeking urgent clarification from the Government on the consultation process and timetable for delivering this legislation through the Parliament."
"The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council is committed to working with the Land Rights network to ensure that any new proposed legislation is supported by Aboriginal peoples, the Aboriginal Land Rights network and meets our principles for reform.
"We welcome your feedback on the reform proposals."
The workshops will be held at:
Further information about the Bill is available here. NSWALC is undertaking further analysis of the draft Bill and will distribute further advice over the coming weeks.
The Government reform proposals and videos can accessed at http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/achreform/
Information about the current laws are available from the NSWALC Site Protection Fact Sheets at /publications/fact-sheets.aspx#S
To discuss the proposed reforms, please contact the NSWALC Strategy and Policy Unit on 02 9689 4444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org