Heritage regulations disallowance an opportunity to review and improve

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Steve Thomas today gave notice of a disallowance of the regulations of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act as was tabled in the Parliament on June 13 this year.

Mr Thomas said the regulations as they stood were confusing and complicated, divided the community and undermined the confidence of landholders and aboriginal communities alike.

“The Bill debated 18 months ago recognised the importance of Aboriginal cultural heritage, but the regulations tabled this month have damaged that intent,” Dr Thomas said.

“Giving notice as I have done does not stop the regulations coming into effect on July 1; the existing regulations will carry the force of law at that point.

“Instead, the disallowance represents an opportunity for the Government to acknowledge community concerns and review the regulations.

“Ideally the Government will develop a better set of regulations that serves the needs of both the Aboriginal community and landholders without dividing them with conflict.”

The disallowance motion will remain on the notice paper until October under Standing Order 67 unless the Government moves to debate it earlier.

“That gives the Government four months to improve the current unsatisfactory situation in the application of these regulations,” Dr Thomas said.

“Should the Government undertake a review and improve the regulations there would be no need to debate the disallowance and I would seek to remove it from the notice paper.”