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 do so.

On December 22, 2021, the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 was passed by the Legislative Council in Western Australian Parliament. The McGowan 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 to implement the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 (WA) (ACH Act) has now commenced. During this time, the regulations, guidelines and operational policies associated with this legislation need to be developed.

Continuing the extensive advocacy undertaken in 2021, on 7 and 8 April 2022, YMAC, along with the National Native Title Council, Native Title Services Goldfields, and South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, hosted an online workshop, bringing 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 here. This report has now been shared with WA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Dr Tony Buti MLA, in an effort to help inform the State Government’s co-design process relating to the ACH Act.

For more information about this workshop, including access to some of the presentations shared throughout, visit www.protectaboriginalheritagewa.org.au. Please also read our joint media release shared following the event here.

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

YMAC also strongly encourages those who have an interest in this important issue to get directly involved in the State Government’s process currently underway. This first phase of this consultation has commenced, with forums being held in regional locations, as well as Perth, throughout April and May 2022. You can find out more, including how to register for one of their upcoming forums here.