In what has been a clear demonstration of the 'power of the people', the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (ACH) Act Amendment Bill 2023 passed through the legislative council on Tuesday night.
WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti and Premier Roger Cook are now responsible for administering the Assent of the Bill, which is the final step for the previous 1972 Aboriginal Heritage Act to be reinstated.
Liberal MP for the Mining and Pastoral Region Neil Thomson, who played a major role in helping to overturn the "overly prescriptive" 2021 legislation, said the repeal was a great outcome and a victory for people-power and common sense.
Mr Thomson, along with the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA president Tony Seabrook, helped co-ordinate an e-petition against the 2021 legislation which garnered almost 30,000 signatures in two weeks.
"There is now no excuse for delays, and the proclamation should happen at the earliest opportunity," Mr Thomson said.
Minor changes which have been made to the 50-year-old act over the past few months will also come into effect once the 1972 act becomes law.
Yesterday in State parliament the community forums held across WA by the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage on the 2021 Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act were revealed to have cost the taxpayer almost $900,000.
Members of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Implementation Group, which was originally created to help iron out problems with the 2021 legislation and later turned into a consultation group for the government on the ACH legislative changes, were informed this week they will be provided with a "thorough update" on the ACH legislative matters on October 27.
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