Publication Details

L. Perry & K. Lingard, Submission on the NSW Draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2018 (2018)


We welcome the opportunity to provide feedback on the Draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2018 ('the Draft Bill'). We appreciate the move towards independent Aboriginal cultural heritage ('ACH') legislation and some of the new governance concepts, namely:

  • The establishment of an ACH Authority
  • Local mapping and strategic planning
  • State of ACH reports
  • Aboriginal ownership of ACH
  • Conservation agreements and management plans

We have examined the Draft Bill against the five reform aims identified by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage ('OEH'):

  1. Broader recognition of ACH values
  2. Decision-making by Aboriginal people
  3. Better information management
  4. Improved protection, management and conservation of ACH
  5. Greater confidence in the regulatory system

Our submission elaborates on the following serious areas of concern:

  • Status of Aboriginal people with traditional or familial links to ACH
  • ACH Authority independence, formation, status and powers
  • Local panel membership, coordination and resourcing
  • Ministerial discretions
  • Multiple exemptions from the assessment pathway
  • Registration and use of intangible ACH
  • Inequitable appeal rights, inconsistent penalties and broad defences