Less red tape on her­itage claims call

Broome Advertiser - - NEWS - Glenn Cord­ing­ley

The Shire of Broome wants leg­is­la­tion gov­ern­ing in­dige­nous her­itage claims to be­come more stream­lined with less red tape, as the sys­tem is rid­dled with “in­con­sis­ten­cies”.

The State Govern­ment an­nounced a re­view of the Abo­rig­i­nal Her­itage Act 1972 last year af­ter a failed bid by the Goolara­booloo to list most of Broome’s town cen­tre as it was con­sid­ered sa­cred ter­ri­tory.

Res­i­dents and coun­cil of­fi­cials were wor­ried it had po­ten­tial to add lay­ers of bu­reau­cracy to sim­ple plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions and sti­fle de­vel­op­ment.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was dis­missed by the Abo­rig­i­nal Cul­tural Ma­te­rial Com­mit­tee sev­eral months later.

The Shire is now calling for a faster and clearer sys­tem, in­clud­ing the Sec­tion 18 process re­quir­ing min­is­te­rial ap­proval to de­velop on listed land.

The Shire be­lieves per­mis­sion to carry out work could come directly from the Abo­rig­i­nal par­ties con­cerned, po­ten­tially re­duc­ing the num­ber of Sec­tion 18 ap­pli­ca­tions and ex­pe­dit­ing projects.

“Ul­ti­mately, the ACMC would only need to as­sess ap­pli­ca­tions where con­sent can­not be ob­tained,” Shire of Broome de­vel­op­ment and com­mu­nity di­rec­tor Aletta Nu­gent stated.

The Shire’s sub­mis­sion pitches na­tive ti­tle against her­itage, along with the com­plex­i­ties faced by a pro­po­nent and which par­ties are con­sulted and au­tho­rised to speak for coun­try.

The im­por­tance of the Abo­rig­i­nal Her­itage Reg­is­ter be­ing ac­cu­rate and up to date was also flagged be­cause of “un­cer­tainty” over mytho­log­i­cal sites recorded on the AHR and the po­ten­tial im­pact of de­vel­op­ment. “It is rec­om­mended that mytho­log­i­cal sites recorded on the reg­is­ter should clearly de­fine what type of ac­tiv­i­ties would ad­versely af­fect the site,” Ms Nu­gent wrote.

“This may as­sist in pro­vid­ing clar­ity and trans­parency to pro­po­nents when pro­gress­ing pro­posed projects.”

The Shire sug­gested when as­sess­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion for in­clu­sion on the reg­is­ter, all af­fected par­ties, in­clud­ing landown­ers and those with in­ter­est in the land, should be pro­vided with ac­cess to all ma­te­ri­als for con­sid­er­a­tion as part of the con­sul­ta­tion process.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, the time to pro­vide a sub­mis­sion on an ap­pli­ca­tion should be ex­tended to at least six weeks,” Ms Nu­gent said.

She said nom­i­nated sites should in­clude a level of sig­nif­i­cance and im­pli­ca­tions if ac­cepted for reg­is­tra­tion.

The re­port sug­gested there was in­con­sis­tency be­tween na­tive ti­tle hold­ers or reg­is­tered par­ties and “knowl­edge hold­ers”, mak­ing it “com­plex and con­fus­ing to un­der­stand who could speak for coun­try”.

“The Shire sug­gests the reg­is­ter in­clude de­tails of the knowl­edge hold­ers and the knowl­edge holder should be a group rather than an in­di­vid­ual,” Ms Nu­gent stated.

“This would pro­vide the pro­po­nent a point of con­tact in the event an in­di­vid­ual was de­ceased.”

The Shire sup­ported ad­di­tional govern­ment re­sources to as­sess a back­log of site ap­pli­ca­tions and to pro­vide an Abo­rig­i­nal Cul­tural Ma­te­rial Com­mit­tee for each re­gion to stream­line pro­cesses and cut red tape.

Pic­ture: Glenn Cord­ing­ley

Goolara­booloo rep­re­sen­ta­tives Ron and Daniel Roe.

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