How you can help

Today another irreplaceable piece of Australia’s cultural heritage will be harmed or destroyed. The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 (ACH Bill), recently passed by the WA State Government, will do nothing to stop it.

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.

Why you should send an email to the WA Premier now
The Jawaren and Garnkiny sites in the East Kimberley, Mt Richardson and Lake Wells in the Goldfields, the Burrup and Harding Dam in the Pilbara, and Munday Swamp just east of Perth, are just the tip of the iceberg of significant Aboriginal cultural heritage locations at risk.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 (ACH Bill) has now been passed by the McGowan Government in WA despite ongoing concerns raised by Traditional Owners and recent advice from the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The new legislation serves the interests of government and industry, but Traditional Owners with cultural authority from across WA have condemned the McGowan Government for rushing through laws which enable the continued destruction of sacred sites.

Hundreds of sites are at risk of harm or destruction right now. Many intersect sacred waterways, cave systems, songlines and Dreamtime locations with irreplaceable engravings, paintings and artefacts dating back tens of thousands of years.

Traditional Owners remain determined to go ahead with a workshop already planned for early-2022 to develop a co-design framework that will inform how these new laws will be implemented.

The McGowan Government is already on record committing to a co-design process in relation to the development of key supporting documents associated with the new laws. WA Traditional Owners want to lead this process by first establishing a co-design framework – the main purpose of which is to generate meaningful dialogues among all stakeholders, and to give the people who are most affected a primary role.

Even though Traditional Owners feel very disrespected by the State Government, they still want to work together to develop a framework to inform both the statutory guidelines and regulations that are yet to be developed, and the mandated five-year review process that will assess the operation and effectiveness of the ACH Bill.


Send WA Premier Mark McGowan the email below, to ask him to honour his commitment to Traditional Owners that the regulations governing the ACH Bill will be co-designed with those most affected by Aboriginal cultural heritage decisions.