Culture and heritage

Aboriginal heritage

Independent Working Party

The independent Aboriginal Culture and Heritage Reform Working Party (the Working Party) was established to advise the Government on options for protecting and managing Aboriginal culture and heritage in NSW. The delivery of the Working Party's recommendations was identified as a priority action for Government in the NSW 2021 Plan.

Members of the Working Party were appointed, jointly by the Minister for Heritage and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, on the basis of their individual skills, expertise and experience in managing and protecting Aboriginal culture and heritage.

Members of the Working Party

Mr Danny Gilbert (Chair) - expert in community engagement with a broad understanding of the cultural and social issues affecting Aboriginal people of NSW

Mr Norman Laing - Office of Environment and Heritage, ex-officio member

Mr Jason Ardler - Aboriginal Affairs NSW, ex officio member

Ms Constance Chatfield - Local Government and Shires Association (LGSA), expert in land management and the issues affecting Aboriginal cultural heritage

Mr Stephen Ryan - NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), expert in land management and the issues affecting Aboriginal cultural heritage

Mr Brad Welsh - Rio Tinto, expert in land management and issues affecting Aboriginal cultural heritage

Ms Megan Mebberson (a member up to August 2012) - Office of the Registrar, Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983, expert in Aboriginal culture and heritage legal issues

Dr Sandra Wallace - Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists (AACA), expert in Aboriginal culture and heritage conservation

Ms Brianna Casey - NSW Farmers, experience in issues relating to Aboriginal culture and heritage in industry or business

Mr Robert Wilcher - Property Council of Australia (NSW), experience in issues relating to Aboriginal culture and heritage in industry or business

group photo of members of ACH working party

ACH Working Party (from left to right): Danny Gilbert (Chair), Robert Wilcher, Constance Chatfield, Brad Welsh, Brianna Casey, Stephen Ryan, Megan Mebberson, Jason Ardler, Norman Laing and Sandra Wallace.

The Working Party process

The Working Party considered best practice regulatory approaches from other jurisdictions. They reviewed feedback received from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 public consultation sessions as well as a range of literature for managing Aboriginal cultural heritage. The diversity of the Working Party members’ skills, experiences and knowledge provided balanced perspectives of ACH management.

Working party meeting communiqués

Working Party recommendations for Government consideration

Following many in-depth discussions, the Working Party developed a paper, Reforming the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage System in NSW: Draft recommendations to the NSW Government (PDF 1.3MB). This paper contains 23 individual recommendations that Government considered for reforming the ACH legislation. Their recommendations are linked to 6 key themes for reform:

  1. Stand-alone legislation
  2. Administrative structures
  3. Early planning process
  4. Local decisions by local people
  5. Streamlined processes
  6. Funding Aboriginal cultural heritage outcomes.

Their recommendations were provided to the Government at the end of 2012. The well-considered Working Party recommendations provided a solid platform for the the Government to develop a proposed model for reform. The Government's response, Reforming the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage System in NSW: The Government's response to the ACH Reform Working Party's Recommendations (PDF 2.9MB) formed the basis of the Phase 3 public consultation workshops in 2013 and 2014.

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Page last updated: 03 March 2015