Changes to the protection of Aboriginal Culture and Heritage.

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CHANGES TO THE PROTECTION OF CULTURE AND HERITAGE

The NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) has announced plans to change the law and policy relating to the protection of Aboriginal culture and heritage.

The proposed changes would amend the National Parks and Wildlife Act and the Requirements for who should be consulted with, when applying for a permit to damage or destroy Aboriginal cultural heritage.

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council had cautiously welcomed the changes which would create tougher penalties for the destruction of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

However, the proposed amendments would also make changes to a range of other aspects of the cultural heritage law and policy.

NSWALC is currently developing its detailed response to DECC, and welcomes feedback from the LALC network to be included in its submission.

NSWALC has produced six Culture and Heritage Fact Sheets for LALCs which outline the current law and explain the proposed changes.

Copies of the Fact Sheets have been urgently sent to all LALCs, along with a copy of the Environmental Defenders Office's guide to environment law for Aboriginal people - Caring for Country.

The Fact Sheets are also available to download from the NSWALC website at www.alc.org.au, and extra copies can be obtained by contacting the NSWALC Resource Centre on Tel: 02 9689 4444.

DECC INFORMATION SESSIONS:

DECC may have already convened Information sessions about the proposed changes to the Requirements in your region. The upcoming sessions are:

  • 11 June, 10am to 12pm, Rydges Hotel James Ruse Drive Rosehill
  • 12 June, 10am to 12pm, Rydges Hotel 1 Hay Street Port Macquarie

NSWALC strongly encourages its members to participate in the remaining information sessions and tell DECC what they think of the proposed changes.

NSWALC is also concerned about the consultation period and will raise these concerns with DECC.

For more information visit the DECC website at www.environment.nsw.gov.au (or follow the links from the Fact Sheets).

LALCs wishing to discuss any issues raised by the Fact Sheets or wanting to provide input to NSWALC's submission to DECC should contact their respective Zone Office or NSWALC's Land, Policy and Research Unit on (02) 9689 4444.

Bev Manton
NSWALC Chairperson
9 June 2009