Heritage Protection Plan


Heritage Consent

Heritage Consent means that you need consent to use, modify, disturb or damage Aboriginal cultural heritage. And that no means no when consent is not freely given. We understand what consent means in relation to people’s bodies, the same concept applies to people’s land and culture.

Heritage Consent relies on genuine partnerships and shared decision-making between Aboriginal people, organisations and Government, to achieve the right balance between protection and profit. This happens by applying jointly defined and agreed processes and regulations to determine impact, develop Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plans and resolve disputes independently, for example.

Aboriginal people know that protection and profit can coexist in harmony. We propose a Heritage Protection Plan to stop the ongoing harm and destruction of irreplaceable Aboriginal cultural heritage sites against the wishes of Aboriginal people. The plan is not about stopping development, it’s about protecting the world’s oldest living continuous culture.

Heritage Protection Plan

The 2020 destruction of 46,000-year-old rock caves in the Pilbara sent shockwaves around the world.  It wasn’t the first event of this kind, and it won’t be the last. Australia’s cultural heritage is being harmed or destroyed every day. The proposed new law won’t stop the ongoing destruction of Aboriginal cultural heritage sites. Aboriginal people propose a Heritage Protection Plan that will.

Heritage Protection Plan

1. ‘Heritage Consent’ will provide a clear regulatory framework based on substantive, authentic and sustained engagement between Aboriginal people, Government & Industry, to achieve the right balance between heritage protection and economic outcomes

2. Through genuine partnerships and shared decision-making, ‘Heritage Consent’ will facilitate the balance required to protect the world’s oldest continuous living culture, and preserve the irreplaceable connection to the past, without negatively impacting the economic benefits that flow from mining now

3. Intrinsic to agreements, heritage decisions and project approval ‘Heritage Consent’ will require full disclosure of all available options and review at 2-yearly intervals or when triggered by an agreed event (e.g. new information or ownership transfer)

4. ‘Heritage Consent’ will enable management of activities that might harm Aboriginal cultural heritage through the joint creation of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plans [ACHMPs] between Aboriginal people and Industry. ACHMPs that determine impact levels and exemptions, cultural landscapes and intangible heritage, for example.

5. Based on the application of ‘Heritage Consent’, an independent dispute mechanism will determine the right balance between heritage protection and economic outcomes – a dispute process that enables the voices of Aboriginal people and Industry to be heard equally

6. When in question, the status of ‘Heritage Consent’ will be determined using jointly defined and agreed criteria by Aboriginal people with the knowledge and authority to determine the right balance between heritage protection and economic outcomes at any stage of a project

7. ‘Heritage Consent’ must be embodied across a range of legislations for consistency in Local, State and Federal application. Sufficient penalties should be included to act as a real deterrent to undertake activities that cause harm to Aboriginal cultural heritage. These penalties must be commensurate with harm caused and aligned with Corporate Australia to include personal liability for fines and jail terms

8. ‘Heritage Consent’ will underpin our global reputation as both a cultural heritage tourism mecca and a mineral province. When enshrined in legislation, this will define WA’s commitment to the rights of indigenous peoples and cultural heritage protection in accordance with the United Nations Declaration [“UNDRIP”]

9. ‘Heritage Consent’ will be the guardrail for best-practice heritage protection and performance by industry and thus a critical factor in ethical investment decision-making.