Jobs Events Advertise

First test for WA's updated cultural heritage laws

Dechlan Brennan -

Western Australia's updated cultural heritage laws will soon be put to their first significant test, with the Shire of Toodyay facing fines of up to $50,000 for breaching the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

The ABC reported the shire, and at least one contractor hired by the shire, have been charged; with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage accusing both of breaching the Act over construction work in several waterways.

It is believed this work was in relation to altering a waterway to prevent erosion under a footpath.

The WA government introduced revamped laws in the middle of 2023 in a bid to prevent incidents like the destruction of the Juukan Gorge by Rio Tinto from happening again.

However, they were repealed less than two months later, with Premier Roger Cook admitting they "took things too far".

National Indigenous Times reported Aboriginal leaders and other cultural heritage experts had warned the legislation did not empower Traditional Owners, instead creating heavy responsibilities for Aboriginal organisations but still denying them a final say.

In November amendments were passed to the 1972 Aboriginal Heritage Act, which had come back into effect with the repeal of the new Act. One of the amendments to the reinstated 1972 Act allows Traditional Owners recourse to appeal decisions.

The charges are the first major test of the amended legislation, which can see individuals found guilty for a first offence fined $20,000 and jailed for nine months. The shire will face a fine of $50,000.

Second offences for individuals can result in a $40,000 fine and two years imprisonment whilst shires can see a $100,000 fine for a second, or any subsequent, offence.

   Related   

Rolfe recorded 46 use-of-force incidents during stint
A Northern Territory police officer who shot dead an Indigenous teenager recorded 46 use-of-force incidents between 2016 and 201...
Neve Brissenden 23 Feb 2024
Man involved in Old Parliament House fire avoids prison
A man involved in a blaze at Old Parliament House that caused millions of dollars in damage has been sentenced to an 18-month su...
Ipswich State High rugby league girls excel in empowering event with Iron Traks
On Thursday, Year 11 and 12 Rugby League girls from Ipswich State High participated in a collaborative event by Iron Traks, Wome...
Joseph Guenzler 23 Feb 2024
Directions hearings continue ahead of inquest into 2021 death in custody of young mum
The latest directions hearings concerning a 30-year-old Yamatji, Noongar, Wongi and Pitjantjatjara woman who died in custody at...
Jarred Cross 23 Feb 2024

   Dechlan Brennan   

Experts say MP's approach to NT youth crime is not evidence-based
Experts have criticised calls from Labor MP Marion Scrymgour for the NT to show “tough love” to juvenile offenders, arguing her...
Dechlan Brennan 23 Feb 2024
Mick Gooda says PM should have adopted "watered down" Voice to secure bipartisan support
Former Australian Human Rights Commissioner and prominent Yes campaigner Mick Gooda says the Prime Minister and fellow Yes campa...
Dechlan Brennan 23 Feb 2024
First Nations Business Trade Fair back in Naarm
The First Nations Business Trade Fair in Naarm was held on Wednesday, on the banks of the Birrarung (Yarra River). Hosted by Su...
Dechlan Brennan 23 Feb 2024
'There need to be consequences for actions' : Legal groups condemn NSW police after guilty officer keeps job
Legal groups in NSW say they are concerned a police officer found guilty of assaulting an Indigenous teenager is still employed...
Dechlan Brennan 22 Feb 2024