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National Agreement on Heritage Protections

Signed this morning between the Australian Federal Government and First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance

Monday 29 November 2021 9:26am
Australian Parliament House by Long Zheng

First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance members are pleased to be working with the Australian Federal Government on the protection of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.

This morning the Alliance Co-Chairs and Ministers Ken Wyatt and Sussan Ley, signed a national agreement on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Protection.

Mr Mick Harding, Chair of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council, believes Council’s membership of the Alliance to be a significant partnership in its broad call for legislative reform.

“The time has come for Traditional Owners to do more than play a part, they must realise their rights to control their Cultural Heritage through the law that governs the protection and management of that Cultural Heritage. there is still much to be done in realising a fundamentally self-determined and tangible ownership of our Culture, Heritage, History and Country.”

This partnership is the beginning of an extraordinary process that acknowledges the extensive partnership work required to achieve real Cultural Heritage reform. This will focus on securing a genuine partnership and shared decision-making approach, aligned to the Government’s Closing the Gap commitments. The importance of these reforms is to rise above political partisanship and for reform to be undertaken in a bi-partisan way.

Mr Kado Muir, Ngalia Cultural and Community Leader, Chairman of National Native Title Council and Co-Chair of the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance welcomes the opportunity to engage in partnership with the Federal Government to co-design with First Australians.

“It is important that our Cultural Heritage Places are recognised and protected on the basis of inherent cultural heritage values, and not as an element of land access and development approvals.”

Based on self-determination and free, prior, informed consent, this partnership will focus on strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage laws, to better protect our heritage.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said that respect for Indigenous Heritage involved respect for the views Indigenous Australians.

“Indigenous Australians should have the right to determine the heritage that is important to them, the ability to access applicable policies and laws to safeguard that heritage, and the choice of how they generate revenue on their land.”

This partnership will ensure any upcoming engagements will be inclusive of and will prioritise the voices of all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It will start to do so by conducting a range of formal consultations before developing options to be present to the Australian Government to strengthen Indigenous Heritage safeguards.

Reviewed 29 November 2021

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