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aboriginalheritagecouncil.vic.gov.au

Proposal Nine

Extension of Chairperson terms.

“When you’re trying to develop relationships and really connect with people, to make a difference through education, it’s almost impossible in under a year.”

Issue

There are concerns about management of stakeholder relationships and the stability of Council due to the Council Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson one-year terms.

Background

Under section 138 of the Act, the Councils Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, “hold office for one year; and are each eligible for re-election for two further terms of 1 year.”

Proposal

That the Act be amended to extend election terms to two years. The current system of one-year leadership terms is unworkable. Longer terms will allow the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to provide stability of leadership, properly develop relationships, and effectively represent the Traditional Owner sector.

Flowing from the above proposal, the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson should only be eligible for one further term of re-election. This will mean that the total amount of time that a Council member could hold either of these offices is four years.

Consideration

Four-year term most appropriate

Currently, both the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson are only eligible for terms of one year at a time. As outlined by this proposal, and supported by Traditional Owner organisation submissions, short leadership terms can be disruptive.

While it can be urged that longer terms can enhance confidence, 4-year terms (as opposed to 6) would enable a good balance between stability of leadership and development/strengthening of relationships with all of Council’s stakeholders. It would also allow room for progression and the flow of new ideas, diverse views and skill sets.

Submission response to the proposal

“AACAI supports the proposal to extend the term of the Chair and Deputy of the VAHC. No precise determination has been made on timing, however in principle it could align to the terms for ‘local government’, currently 4 years.”

Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. (AACAI)

The AACAI is an organisation for professionals working in all fields of contract and public archaeology. As the professional association for consulting archaeologists in Australia, it develops best practice in this field, promotes training and communication and provides support for its members. The Association liaises with Traditional Owner groups and other stakeholders and influences policy and decision makers to protect and manage cultural and historical heritage in this country. It is affiliated with the Australian Archaeological Association Inc and is a Foundation Member of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Community support for the proposal

Most submissions had no comment on this proposal or supported it with no further or alternative suggestions. The general view was that the extension of the Chairperson’s term is fitting, and that the overall term for a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson being restricted to four years is appropriate.

However, the following notable suggestion was received from a Heritage – Policy sector submission:

“Terms of appointment should be extended by 3 years (not 2). This would be in line with the current 3-year term of appointment of Council members generally. Consequently, eligibility for re-election should be limited to once, i.e. the total amount of time a Council member could hold either of those offices would be six (6) years.”

UNDRIP

This issue should be considered in relation to Article 23

“Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. Indigenous peoples have the right to be actively involved in developing and determining health, housing and other economic and social programmes affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programmes through their own institutions.”

Best practice standards in Indigenous cultural heritage management and legislation

This recommendation should be considered in relation to Best Practice Standard 6 – Process:

“The role of ICH in the process of consideration of development proposals in a jurisdiction is important. So, to is the process of consideration of the management of ICH in the context of a specific proposal.”

Reviewed 19 April 2021

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