CME backs historic First Nations partnership

The Federal Government has partnered with the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance to strengthen safeguards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, ensuring Indigenous involvement in project planning on their land, including mine proposals and developments. 

The historic partnership will support stronger engagement with Traditional Owners, by making the interactions between state, territory and Commonwealth laws and systems much more direct, by clarifying expectations and ensuring clear, predictable pathways for land users. 

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt AM said the new partnership ensured Indigenous Australians would be at the centre of Indigenous Heritage planning on their land.

“Indigenous Australians should have the right to determine the heritage that is important to them, the ability to access applicable policies and laws to safeguard that heritage, and the choice of how they generate revenue on their land,” Minister Wyatt said. 

“As we look to modernise Indigenous protection it is fundamentally important that we are working in partnership with Indigenous Australians and recognising the rights of Traditional Owners to manage their land and heritage as they deem fit.” 

Ngalia cultural and community leader, National Native Title Council chairman and First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance co-chair Kado Muir welcomes the opportunity to engage in partnership with the government to co-design with First Australians. 

“It is important that our Cultural Heritage Places are recognised and protected on the basis of inherent cultural heritage values, and not as an element of land access and development approvals,” he said. 

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable said the minerals industry is looking forward to contributing to the discussion with the Traditional Owners.

“The minerals industry values and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, heritage and knowledge,” Constable said.

“The sector is working to continually strengthen its relationships with partner First Nations communities.”

The First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance partnership will conduct a range of formal consultations before developing options to be presented to the Australian Government to strengthen Indigenous Heritage safeguards of their land and culture. 

This partnership follows a recent announcement from the WA Government, that introduced the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 to Parliament, to ensure Aboriginal people can negotiate outcomes for projects and opportunities on their lands.

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