To address current power imbalances and inequity in agreement making and cultural heritage protection for Traditional Owners and custodians, in 2020 YMAC developed the following ‘Roadmap to Reform’, requesting government:
- Introduce comprehensive laws or amendments to existing laws that embody Aboriginal cultural heritage protection, ensuring successful implementation of agreed reforms. Such legislation includes (but is not limited to): Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (Cth); Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA); Native Title Act 1993 (Cth); Mining Act 1978 (WA); Local Government Act 1995 (WA); and Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA).
- Implement the recommendations made by the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia, as are set out in A Way Forward: Final report into the destruction of Indigenous heritage sites at Juukan Gorge.
- Legislate consultation rights and the need for Aboriginal cultural heritage to be considered early in a development process and continue to be considered as new information comes to light, both before and after agreements have been made.
- Mandate Aboriginal cultural heritage plans, including ethnographic and archaeological surveys with the involvement of Traditional Owners and custodians; and legislate a clear regulatory framework surrounding agreement making, heritage decisions, project approvals and land management through the lifecycle of projects that embody the principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent at every stage.
- Provide appropriate funding and training to ensure Prescribed Bodies Corporate and other representative bodies are properly resourced to undertake the necessary work to better protect cultural heritage.
- Promote the global significance of Aboriginal cultural heritage as an original and irreplaceable part of Australia’s collective cultural heritage, and proactively work to protect it.