Draft regulations to support the amended Aboriginal heritage laws have been released for stakeholder consultation.
With the Bill to repeal the controversial Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act and restore the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 pending debate in parliament, the announcement on the draft regulations was made late yesterday afternoon.
The draft regulations set timeframes for decisions under Section 18 of the 50 year old act, and outline the administrative and management procedures of the proposed Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Committee.
The regulations include a new consultation policy and application guidelines for proponents applying for a Section 18 Consent form where works are likely to impact Aboriginal culture heritage.
The State government also announced that additional technical amendments to the act will be introduced in parliament next week, which include the clarification of the definition of 'native title party' and the transfer of a Section 18 Consent where there is a change in the ownership of the land.
The State's Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti said the government was well advanced in delivering on its commitment to put alternate legislation in place.
"We have worked to keep the restored process for managing and protecting Aboriginal
cultural heritage simple - to focus on important amendments that will address key concerns
without adding complexity and confusion," Mr Buti said.
"I am pleased to be able to share the draft regulations and policy guidance with Aboriginal
organisations, industry groups, Implementation Group members and other key stakeholders
to obtain their feedback while the Bill is under debate.
"Ultimately, our aim is to implement the new system as soon as practically possible once the
Bill is considered and passed by the House."
However State Opposition and Nationals WA leader Shane Love said the opposition had not been "kept in the loop" on the regulations, so they could properly analyse what the proposed changes will mean for the people of Western Australia, ahead of the parliamentary debate next week.
Mr Love again called on the Labor government to split the reform and amendment bill and repeal the 2021 Act first, to provide more time for stakeholder consultation for the proposed amendments.
"This is a simple solution proposed by the opposition, however, the Cook Labor government is too arrogant to listen," Mr Love said.
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