Parties flag indigenous affairs reforms
Aboriginal heritage management and the effect it has on resources projects are in for a big shake-up after the State election, regardless of the winning party.
Greens spokesman for Aboriginal issues and mining Robin Chapple condemned the existing arrangements yesterday, telling a mining conference requirements for heritage surveys were excessive.
Mr Chapple described the Department of Aboriginal Affairs as the worst department in the State.
“You don’t need to do half the things the DAA are telling you to do,” he said at the AMEC Mining and the Environment Conference.
“The key issue is to get a functioning organisation that actually assists people in the process.”
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier defended his department.
“The Department of Aboriginal Affairs has gone through major changes, including a 30 per cent reduction in staff and a review of the Heritage Directorate,” Mr Collier said.
The DAA administers heritage approvals under the 45-year-old Aboriginal Heritage Act, which all major parties want to overhaul. The State Government put forward amendments in late 2014 but the proposed legislation stalled in Parliament.
“It is still firmly my intention to pursue those should we win,” Mr Collier said.
Shadow Aboriginal affairs minister Ben Wyatt said the proposed legislative change had failed in Parliament as the Government erred in not involving Aboriginal people in the new regime.
Mr Wyatt said there had to be a system that respected that Aboriginal people owned the heritage and wanted a role in its protection. Heritage protection had to exist with industry and job creation, he said.
The Greens’ Robin Chapple says the Department of Aboriginal Affairs is the worst department in the State.