The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 (ACH Act), was passed by parliament in December 2021. The ACH Act provides a new way of protecting Aboriginal Cultural Heritage by giving Aboriginal people a much stronger say in managing their cultural heritage. Before the ACH Act comes into operation there is a transition period during which the regulation, statutory guidelines and operational policies will be developed. In 2022 a three phase co-design process was undertaken by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) to develop these documents. WALGA hosted a webinar to provide an overview of the ACH and the process being undertaken in February 2022. The recording and presentation is available via the links below:

Throughout this co-design process WALGA conducted comprehensive consultation with the Local Government sector on the guidance materials supporting the legislation and made submissions during Phase One,  Phase Two and Phase Three. A clear message from the consultation was that the ACH Act must balance the need to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage with the requirements for Local Government to deliver essential infrastructure works and emergency management activities efficiently and effectively to maintain public safety and comply with its other legislative responsibilities.
 
The co-design process will be completed on 26 February 2023 with the gazettal of the regulations. Following this DPLH will conduct an intensive education program for stakeholders between March – June 2023. During this period the funding and capacity building models will also be finalised to support the successful delivery of the ACH Act.
The ACH Act will commence 1 July 2023.
 
WALGA’s Advocacy Position: 3.1.3 Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 and South West Native Title Settlement (December 2022 – 393.8/2022)

Further information about the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act can be found here.

WALGA's Aboriginal Heritage Reference Group

WALGA is currently seeking expressions of interest from Local Government Officers to join its Aboriginal Heritage Reference Group (AHRG) which will guide the sector's input into the development of the key regulations and statutory guidelines. The aim of the AHRG is to ensure that the challenges and innovations of Local Governments are captured and integrated within the documents.

Members must demonstrate that they are actively working in Aboriginal Affairs, hold a senior/leadership position and are able to represent the views of their organisation. Expressions of interest, addressing the criteria, can be submitted via email here