Aboriginal people do not support the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 (ACH Act) because:
● it is not strong enough to stop another disaster.
● they are not at the centre of decision-making about what happens on their land or to their significant cultural heritage sites.
● the final say over what happens to their sites still rests with the Aboriginal Affairs Minister [which resulted in the tragic destruction of rock shelters (or caves) – with evidence of human occupation dating back 46,000 years – in the Pilbara in 2020].
● it requires a giant leap of faith that miners, pastoralists and others will be prepared to reach agreements with Aboriginal people to avoid damaging Aboriginal cultural heritage.
● among other legal and cultural concerns, it fails to meet the standards set out by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
● it does not represent best practice in the field of cultural heritage management or protection.