The Opposition has encouraged mining explorers and the agriculture sector to put forward suitably qualified nominations for the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council to ensure a broad range of expertise is present on the inaugural body.
Shadow Mines and Petroleum Minister Shane Love said junior mining companies and prospectors must be included on the panel, as well as the larger organisations to ensure the entire mining industry is covered.
“With up to nine members to be allocated to the Council, we want to make sure all key sectors, and industry players, have a seat at this decision-making table,” Mr Love said.
“There are rules associated with the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 which impact mining companies, especially prospectors and explorers so the appropriate representatives need to be considered for inclusion on the panel.
“I acknowledge that all Council Members are required to have knowledge or experience in Aboriginal cultural heritage. But it is essential that some members also have experience in major industries such as mining as this Council will ultimately make major decisions on a raft of land use projects in WA.”
Shadow Agriculture and Food Minister Colin de Grussa said there must be an understanding around agriculture and livestock practices by the Council as well to protect all landowners.
“The bill in its raw form when rushed through Parliament by the McGowan Labor Government left some unanswered questions in regard to what farmers, pastoralists, and producers can do on their properties,” Mr de Grussa said.
“The penalties for unknowingly doing the wrong thing are severe so there needs to be appropriate consideration into how the laws will impact landowners who need to break ground on their properties for their job.
“The Council will be responsible for approving permits and management plans corresponding with the new laws which is why it’s important to have a vast range of experts involved.
“We encourage the ag industry to put forward a representative to make sure their voices are heard in a Council which will have huge decision-making powers.
“These are important changes which the Opposition supported in Parliament, but it is essential the Government gets the roll out right and ensures there aren’t unintended consequences on businesses and jobs.”
Nominations close at 5pm on Friday July 22.
For more information or to nominate, please visit: https://form.jotform.com/DPLH/aboriginal-heritage-council