Aboriginal people were not given sufficient opportunity to see a copy of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 (ACH Bill) in its entirety before the State Government rushed it through Parliament in late 2021, despite issues highlighted by the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD).
Aboriginal people were invited to make submissions on the 2020 draft of the ACH Bill – but the State Government did not share a summary of submissions and key findings. Aboriginal people did not feel heard on areas of key concern, such as informed consent and the right to say no.
What’s important now is that Aboriginal people wish to lead the process of establishing a co-design framework and how this should be implemented. This framework, in turn, will inform the associated statutory guidelines and regulations to be developed, as well as how the mandated five-year review process regarding the operation and effectiveness of the ACH Bill (as per section 309) should be undertaken.