Upset as Act stalls
Controversial amendments to WA’s Aboriginal Heritage Act have come to a standstill, with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier admitting proposed changes would not make it through Parliament in the final sitting weeks.
The proposed legislation, introduced to Parliament in late 2014, will now be taken to the upcoming State Election, with Mr Collier revealing there were too many pieces of legislation to get through in the final four sitting weeks of Parliament.
He admitted difficulties gaining The Nationals’ support for the legislation early on had slowed down the process, but said a compromise had now been reached.
“It is a very significant piece of legislation so I don’t want to bulldoze it through the Parliament and then be accused of doing exactly that,” he said.
The proposed changes to the 40-year-old Act include giving full responsibility for evaluating the significance of Aboriginal heritage to the chief executive of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and increased penalties for those who damage or destroy Aboriginal heritage. WA Greens member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple criticised Mr Collier for recommitting to the changes, saying the Act needed to be rewritten with considerable contribution from Aboriginal people.
Member for Kalgoorlie Wendy Duncan said the Nationals had submitted amendments to Mr Collier’s proposed changes, which addressed concerns over giving power solely to the chief executive.
Greens Member for Mining and Pastoral Robin Chapple.