Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Minister for Mental Health; Aboriginal Affairs; Industrial Relations

    Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill funding confirmed in State Budget

    18/08/2021 9:30 AM
     
    • More than $11 million to support the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021
    • Delivering historic reform to Western Australia's outdated Aboriginal heritage laws
    • Aboriginal people to be decision-makers about their cultural heritage

    The McGowan Government will commit more than $11 million in the 2021-22 State Budget to progress the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill (ACHB) 2021.

     

    The ACHB will deliver historic reform of Western Australia's Aboriginal heritage laws by replacing the outdated Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 to deliver greater protection for Aboriginal cultural heritage.

     

    The Bill recognises that Aboriginal people hold the knowledge and cultural responsibility for their heritage. Under the new Bill, decisions about what qualifies as Aboriginal cultural heritage will be in the hands of Aboriginal people.

     

    The McGowan Government has committed $10 million in the 2021-22 State Budget to provide one-off establishment, administration and capacity-building funding for Local Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Services (LACHS). This money is a commitment to capacity building and development, long before the new regime comes into effect.

     

    The appointment of LACHS for each area of the State will play an active role in the management of cultural heritage. LACHS will be the go-to groups to help negotiate and facilitate agreement-making on land-use proposals.

     

    A further $795,000 has also been allocated to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet to finalise drafting of the Bill, to prepare policies, guidelines and regulations to support the Act, and to undertake stakeholder engagement on supporting documentation.

     

    The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage has been allocated $250,000 to progress work on an integrated systems solution to support the new Act when it passes through Parliament.

     

    Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Stephen Dawson:

     

    "Local Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Services (LACHS) will be required to fulfil critical statutory functions and the State Government recognises this will need financial support.

     

    "As such, the McGowan Government has committed $10 million for the establishment, administration and capacity building of LACHS.

     

    "LACHS will be the primary decision makers and will have significant influence in the management of cultural heritage within their appointed area.

     

    "This money is a commitment to capacity building and development, long before the new regime comes into effect.

     

    "The Bill also has cost recovery and fee charging mechanisms built into its design.

     

    "The central foundation of the new Bill is consultation, negotiation and agreement making between Traditional Owners (or their appointed representatives) and proponents.

     

    "Fundamentally, this legislation will ensure Aboriginal people can define and assert the significance of their cultural heritage and, with this authority, be able to negotiate agreements with miners and other land users.

     

    "Aboriginal people and key stakeholders will be closely engaged in the development and co-design of supporting policies, processes and guidelines."

     

    Minister's office - 6552 5800