One Na­tion backs Her­itage changes

Pilbara News - - Election 2017 - Tom Zaun­mayr

Pauline Han­son’s One Na­tion has mooted sup­port for changes to the Abo­rig­i­nal Her­itage Act which in­dige­nous peo­ple ar­gue would wa­ter down pro­tec­tion of cul­tural and sa­cred sites.

The amend­ments are in­tended to clear the back­log of her­itage ap­pli­ca­tions at the De­part­ment of Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs and boost penal­ties for dam­ag­ing sa­cred sites.

Move­ment of the amend­ments through Par­lia­ment has been stalled by the Na­tion­als Party, echo­ing con­cerns of the Greens, La­bor and tra­di­tional own­ers.

Those con­cerns in­clude giv­ing the head of the DAA too much power, and not ad­e­quately in­volv­ing in­dige­nous peo­ple in de­ci­sion mak­ing. One Na­tion East Metro Re­gion can­di­date Charles Smith said there was a need to pass the Abo­rig­i­nal Her­itage Amend­ment Bill ur­gently.

“If One Na­tion WA are in a po­si­tion to do so, we will drive for cer­tain con­ces­sions from the Gov­ern­ment to pass leg­is­la­tion,” he said.

“One of those con­ces­sions will be the re-in­tro­duc­tion of the amend­ments to the Abo­rig­i­nal Her­itage Act.

“This is a vi­tal piece of leg­is­la­tion for the WA min­ing in­dus­try and for the re­gional econ­omy.

“I am very con­cerned about the high costs, de­lays and as­so­ci­ated frus­tra­tions caused by na­tive ti­tle rep­re­sen­ta­tive bod­ies.”

Greens MLC for Min­ing and Pas­toral Robin Chap­ple said the state­ment showed One Na­tion had gone back to its roots of mak­ing in­dige­nous peo­ple out­casts.

“This was the Bill that took away the rights of in­dige­nous peo­ple,” he said.

“The AHA, in the way it was go­ing to be amended, gave au­thor­ity to one per­son who didn’t have to have any ex­per­tise in the area.

“Lit­i­ga­tion for the min­ing sec­tor would go through the roof due to de­stroy­ing sa­cred sites which the De­part­ment of Mines and Petroleum would tell min­ers weren’t on the reg­is­ter.

“This is a party that is pre­pared to trade all sorts of things, in this case the rights of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple, for their own per­sonal ben­e­fit.”

Mr Chap­ple said the man­age­ment of the Act, rather than the Act it­self, was what was most in need of re­form.

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