Country, Culture, People, Future

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act

YMAC has long advocated on behalf of Traditional Owners – in particular, its members and clients – for stronger protections in relation to their cultural heritage, and we remain committed to doing so.

On 22 December 2021, the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 was passed by the Legislative Council in Western Australian Parliament. The State Government passed this contentious bill regardless of ongoing concerns raised by WA Traditional Owners and issues highlighted by the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD).

A transition period of at least 12 months was given to implement the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 (WA) (ACH Act). The time has been allocated to develop regulations, guidelines and operational policies associated with this legislation.

Continuing the extensive advocacy undertaken in 2021, YMAC (along with the National Native Title Council, Native Title Services Goldfields and South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council), hosted an online workshop on 7 and 8 April 2022. This brought together Traditional Owners, government, investment and industry representatives, heritage professionals and co-design experts to discuss a ‘co-design’ approach specific to the ACH Act going forward.

The full report detailing outcomes of the workshop can be viewed online. This report has been shared with WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Dr Tony Buti to help inform the State Government’s co-design process relating to the ACH Act. Several questions directed to Minister Buti were raised during the workshop and shared with him following the event. Read the response from Minister Buti.

For more details about the workshop, including access to some of the presentations, visit the Protect Australia’s Cultural Heritage website. Please also read our joint media release, shared following the event.

To read more about YMAC’s advocacy work on this issue, as well as others, you can search our media statements and our written submissions.

YMAC strongly encourages those with an interest in this important issue to get directly involved in the State Government’s processes. You can find out more at Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 co-design process.