The State Government will spend $77 million over the next four years for operational costs associated with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 (ACH Act), which takes effect from 1 July 2023.

Funding is being provided to support the implementation of the new system and sustainability of Local Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Services (LACHS), new organisations that will have a regulatory role to provide advice on Aboriginal cultural heritage, help negotiate and facilitate agreement-making on land-use proposals and take on significant administrative and operational responsibilities.

When established, LACHS will be funded up to $300,000 each year to ensure adequate levels of resourcing and capacity to meet the anticipated service level requirements from proponents, Traditional Owners, Aboriginal communities and individuals.

Although this announcement is a positive step towards supporting the implementation of the ACH Act, it does not address the significant resourcing impacts of the new Act on Local Government. 

WALGA’s 2023-24 State Budget submission sought funding and capacity building support for Local Government to assist with the transition to the new system. WALGA will continue to advocate to ensure Local Governments are adequately resourced to fulfill their obligations under the new Act to ensure the benefits of these cultural heritage reforms are realised.