Hon Dr Tony Buti BPE DipEd MIR LLB DPhil MLA

Hon Dr Tony Buti BPE DipEd MIR LLB DPhil MLA

Minister for Education; Aboriginal Affairs; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests

    Co-design process a step closer as Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Reference Group appointed

    11/02/2022 7:05 AM
    • Historic laws to better protect WA's Aboriginal cultural heritage progress to next stage
    • Aboriginal community, industry and public sector representatives appointed to the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Reference Group
    • Group will guide and inform the co-design of regulations and key supporting documents for the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021
    • Co-design process is vital in shaping how the new Act will operate 

    The co-design process to develop the key documents that will support Western Australia's new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 is a step closer, following the appointment of a new reference group.


    The new Act will replace the 50-year-old Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 and provide better protection for cultural heritage from the oldest continuous living culture in the world.


    Comprised of four members from the Aboriginal community, industry and government, the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Reference Group will work with key stakeholders to undertake the co-design of the draft regulations, management code and guidelines.


    Well-known Aboriginal community leaders, Ms Merle Carter and Mr Lindsay Dean, have been appointed as the Aboriginal community representatives on the Reference Group. While industry and government will be represented respectively by Ms Bronwyn Bell and Mr Anthony Kannis.


    Ms Carter is a senior Cultural woman of the Miriuwong Gajerrong people and the Bunuba people. Ms Carter has a significant connection to the Kimberley region through her current and previous involvement on the boards of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Binarri-binyja yarrawoo (BBY) and Kimberley Land Council. She is also a current member of both the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee, Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee and Aboriginal Advisory Council of WA.


    Mr Dean is a traditional owner of the Wagyl Kaip and Southern Noongar region in Noongar country and Karijarri Bard Nimanboor in the West Kimberley. Mr Dean has a deep understanding of Aboriginal cultural heritage, and sound working knowledge of the Aboriginal Heritage and Native Title legislations. Mr Dean has worked across Aboriginal affairs for many years and has experience working with the Aboriginal community, public, government and non-government organisations. Mr Dean is a current member of the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee and Wadjemup Aboriginal Reference Group, as well as being actively involved with the Karajarri Traditional Lands Association and South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.


    Ms Bell is the Manager for Resource Development and Sustainability at the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME). Prior to joining CME, Ms Bell spent 15 years working as an environmental professional for various mining operations across Australia, and has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement, environmental approvals and compliance.


    Mr Kannis is the Director General for the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH). He has more than four decades of experience in the public sector, most recently serving as the Program Director of METRONET.


    Individuals and organisations interested in taking part in the co-design process can contact the ACH Act implementation team at ACHimplementation@dplh.wa.gov.au to register their interest and to request further information.


    Further details on the schedule of the co-design workshops will be released soon.


    Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti:


    "The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 places Aboriginal people at the heart of decision-making about their cultural heritage through the requirement for notification and consultation.


    "Passage of the legislation through Parliament last year was the first stage of this important reform process.


    "Consultation and engagement with Aboriginal people and other stakeholders will continue with a focus on the co-design of key documents that will support the ACH Act.


    "The regulations are extremely important in determining how the new Act will operate and the co-design process will ensure it balances the expectations of the wider community. 


    "The ACH Reference Group's first task will be to create a co-design process that ensures all interested stakeholders have an opportunity to take part in this significant reform.


    "I encourage all interested stakeholders to participate in this very important process."


    Minister's office - 6552 6400