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Adele Warns Government Not To Weaken Aboriginal Heritage Act

Adele has cautioned the State Government not to adopt measures that will weaken the protection of Aboriginal heritage in WA.

Adele issued the warning in her submission to the Department of Indigenous Affairs’ (DIA) Review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

The review, which was established in April, follows an investigation by the Auditor General in 2011 which found that the DIA was failing to monitor the protection of heritage sites from mining and was not taking action against offenders.

“The proposed changes to the Act do little more than make it faster and easier for miners and developers to obtain a section 18 which allows them to carry out activities on sites of Aboriginal Heritage significance.”

The review has resulted in seven proposals which include:

  • Taking Aboriginal heritage considerations out of the EPA’s hands
  • Diminishing the need to determine who is the traditional ‘owner’ of land before a section 18 is granted
  • Introduce a cost recovery arrangement for the Department to carry out surveys

“The real problem here is a culture of non-enforcement by the DIA, a lack of funding by Treasury and a view that mining has priority in these issues. The focus should be protecting Aboriginal culture and heritage,” Adele said.

“What Indigenous Affairs Minister Peter Collier needs to do is issue a directive to the DIA requiring compliance with the current Act and enforcement of the law.”

Click here to read Adele’s submission  Aboriginal Heritage 26 6 12

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