Culture and heritage

Aboriginal heritage

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee (ACHAC) was established under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 to advise the Minister for the Environment and the Chief Executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) on any matter relating to identification, assessment and management of Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW.

This includes providing strategic advice on Plans of Management, heritage impact permit processes, matters referred to the Committee by the Minister or the Chief-Executive. The Committee was established in 2006.  

Role of the Committee

ACHAC provides advice on high level Aboriginal cultural heritage issues, including management policies; identification, assessment and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage; and legislative reform.

 

Committee priority actions

The Committee has selected the following important goals and tasks from a broad range of issues in order to give them their full attention:

  • Monitoring and reviewing the implementation of amendments to the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 as it relates to Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • Broad review of legislation for the protection and conservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW
  • Development of NSW government and OEH initiatives and priorities that relate to the management and protection of Aboriginal culture and heritage

Committee vision

That Aboriginal peoples Country, culture, physical and spiritual connection to their land and waters is recognised, cared for and respected by all people, today and into the future.

Committee targets

  • To increase participation of Aboriginal people in the identification and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage, biodiversity and biological resources and spiritual values in relation to land and water.
  • To increase participation of Aboriginal people in management and protection of Country cultural heritage, including joint management of national parks and protection of Aboriginal biodiversity and biological resources and spiritual values in relation to land and water.To develop policies to support Aboriginal land owners and land managers to manage their lands for socio-economic, cultural and environmental outcomes.

Committee membership

The Committee consists of 13 members appointed by the Minister for the Environment, and one ex-officio member from OEH. The ex-officio member is a non-voting member of the Committee.

Committee members have vast and diverse knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture and heritage, knowledge which is unique because it comes from their own experiences of working on Country in their local communities. Membership reflects the diversity of the Aboriginal population of NSW and achieves a gender balance.  Membership includes:

 

  • Nominee of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC)
  • Nominee of the Heritage Council of NSW
  • Nominee of NTSCORP Limited
  • Members of Local Aboriginal Land Councils
  • Nominees of Aboriginal Elders Groups
  • Aboriginal owners listed on the register under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983
  • Registered Native Title Claimants.

Committee members

Current Committee members

Mr Victor Perry (Chair)

Victor is a member of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee (ACHAC), appointed under Section 2(d)(ii) of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. He has been the Chair of ACHAC in previous terms on the committee, was one the first members of ACHAC when it was established in 2006.

Victor identifies as a Wonnarua man from the Hunter Valley. He is also a board member of the Madoo Land Fund and Upper Hunter Wonnarua Council.

Victor runs the Junburra Aboriginal Consultancy Services, and works with the Upper Hunter Skills Development Centre and other Upper Hunter organisations.

Victor has undertaken cultural heritage surveys, management of lands, and consultation with developers, mining companies and government departments, as well as producing cultural heritage training programs for the mining and private industry. He is party to an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and is a Registered Native Title Claimant in the Hunter Valley.

Mrs Glenda Chalker (Deputy Chair)

Glenda is a member of ACHAC, appointed under Section 2(d)(ii) and (iii) of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Glenda is one of the original members appointed to ACHAC when it was established in 2006.

Glenda is a Dharawal woman of the Cubbitch Barta Clan. Glenda is passionate about cultural heritage and is party to a registered Indigenous Land Use Agreement and part of the Cubbitch Barta Native Title Claimant process.

Glenda is Deputy Chairperson of the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council, a member of the National Parks and Wildlife Sydney Metropolitan South Regional Advisory Committee, the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Advisory Committee and Aboriginal Advisory Group, and is the Chairperson of the Cubbitch Barta Native Title Claimants Aboriginal Organisation.

Glenda understands the stories and material culture of the Dharawal area. She knows the importance of heritage to Aboriginal people and future generations and the threats to cultural heritage conservation faced by increasing residential development.

Mr Ian Woods

Ian is a member of ACHAC, appointed under Section 2(d)(i) of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Ian has also been a member of ACHAC since 2009.

Ian is a Wiradjuri man from Hay and has been the CEO of the Hay Local Aboriginal Land Council for over 25 years. He is also the founding Chair of the Nari Nari Tribal Council, a member of the Nimmie Caira Advisory Committee, Murray Lower Darling Indigenous Nations Group, Mawambul Co-Management Group and participates in the annual Indigenous Areas Managers meeting.

Ian has worked in many heritage roles including site identification and protection projects, arranging Aboriginal cultural heritage celebrations, consulted with local councils, National Parks and Wildlife, landowners, government agencies and developers.

Ian is passionate about Aboriginal cultural heritage and is proactively involved in developments and compliance issues where sites are being destroyed. This is Ian's second term on ACHAC and his goal is to see Aboriginal people making decisions about the law and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage, to ensure people are reconnecting and identifying with Country, language and their culture.

Mr Robin Heath

Robin is a member of ACHAC, appointed under Section 2d(i) and (iii) of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Robin has been a member of ACHAC since it was established in 2006.

Robin is from Gumbaynggirr Country and has been involved in the Dorrigo Local Aboriginal Land Council for over 20 years.

As the CEO of Dorrigo Land Council, Robin and his community have successfully claimed land under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983. He is a member of the North Coast National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Committee, Warrali Board, Regional Partnerships Agreement - Local Decision Making and the Gumbaynggirr Nation.

Robin's work at the Dorrigo Local Aboriginal Land Council marks some of his key achievements where Aboriginal cultural heritage values were identified. The identification of the Aboriginal heritage allowed for protection outcomes for heritage and the creation of site officer positions to ensure the continued identification and protection of Aboriginal culture and heritage.

Ms Sharon Hodgetts

Sharon is a member of ACHAC, appointed under Section 2(d)(iii)of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Sharon is a Wiradjuri/Wangaaypuwan woman. She is the Senior Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Officer for Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council and a member of the Australian Archaeological Association, National Parks and Wildlife Service - Central Coast Hunter Regional Advisory Committee, Mingaletta Aboriginal Torres Straits Islander Corporation and Australian Archaeological Association (AAA) Indigenous Liaison Officer.

Sharon is passionate about Aboriginal heritage and culture. Through her roles and memberships, she is well respected for her knowledge of stories, material culture and the impacts and threats to Aboriginal cultural heritage currently posed through mining and other development.

Ms Queenie Speeding

Queenie is a member of ACHAC, appointed under Section 2 (d)(ii) of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Queenie is a Githabal woman from North Coast NSW, is part of the Widjabul-Wia-bal Native Title claim group and a member of the Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council Board of Directors.

Queenie understands the importance of leadership and being active in her community to preserve cultural heritage, stories, language and other expressions from further loss.

Mrs Iris White

Iris is a member of ACHAC, appointed under Section 2 (d) (iii) of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Iris is a Yuin woman from the South Coast, connected to the Gulaga and Biamanga areas, and also associated with the Ngarigo on the Monaro Plains.

Iris has represented community interests at a local, state and national level. Iris is a board member and chairperson of the Gulaga National Park Joint Board of Management, a member on the Southern Rivers CMA Board and the Regional Communities Consultative Council, and Director of the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT Pty Ltd.

Iris has negotiated for the hand-back and joint management of significant Aboriginal landmarks and is passionate about improving the integrity and processes for protecting Aboriginal culture.

Mr James Williams

James is a member of ACHAC, appointed under Section 2(d)(i) of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

James is a Wiradjuri man from Orange. He is a member of the Gunni Thakun Cultural Association, National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Committee - Western Rivers Region, Orange and Bathurst Local Land Council and Wiradjuri Elders Group. James works in providing family and community services in his local area.

James understands the effects of dislocation and destruction of cultural heritage, and is aware of the need and importance of stories, language, songs and material culture of the area for Aboriginal people to strengthen their identity and culture.

Dr Raymond Kelly

Ray is a member of ACHAC, nominated by the Heritage Council of New South Wales, and appointed under Section 2(b) of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Ray is a Dunghutti man from the mid north coast of NSW. He was awarded a doctorate from the University of Newcastle for his study of Aboriginal languages. He is a member of the Heritage Council of New South Wales and has been involved in Aboriginal community development and cultural heritage for over 30 years.

Ms Natalie Rotumah

Natalie is a member of ACHAC, nominated by the Native Title Services Corporation Limited (NTSCORP), and appointed under Section 2(c) of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Natalie is a Bundjalung woman originally from South Tweed Heads and has worked for NTSCorp since 2002. Prior to that, Natalie served as a NSW Aboriginal Land Council Regional Chair and representative on the NSW Natural Resources Advisory Committee and is currently Deputy Chair of the NSW Aboriginal Fishing Advisory Council.

Mr Peter Smith

Peter is a member of ACHAC, nominated by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, and is appointed under Section 2(a) of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Peter is a Dunghutti man originally from Kempsey and sits on the board of Dunghutti Elders. He also has Gumbaynggirr and Wiradjuri connections through both of his grandmothers.

Peter is a member and former Chair of the Purfleet-Taree Local Aboriginal Land Council. He has worked in the Taree region of NSW for over three decades in Aboriginal affairs, policing and regional health services.

Mrs Maureen O'Donnell (Alternate member)

Maureen is a member of ACHAC, appointed under Section 6 of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Maureen was appointed to ACHAC when it was established in 2006.

Maureen is a Wijakali Elder with cultural connections to Mutawintji National Park, Wilcannia, Broken Hill and Poolamacca station in the far west of NSW. She is a registered Aboriginal Owner with links to the Mutawintji National Park and works closely with the community through her involvement as a board/committee member with:

  • Aboriginal Legal Service
  • Broken Hill Local Aboriginal Land Council
  • Mutawintji Board of Management
  • NSW Police and Corrective Services
  • Maari Maa Aboriginal Health Corporation
  • Far West Local Health District
  • Broken Hill Aboriginal Community Working Party
  • National Parks and Wildlife Service Far West Region Advisory Committee.

Maureen is experienced in dealing with complex heritage and social issues between government agencies and Aboriginal communities. She has developed, implemented and maintained policies to assist traditional owners in land management.

How often does the Committee meet?

The Committee meets at least three times per year.

The Committee may, by resolution, hold one regional meeting per year. Ordinary meetings are otherwise held in the Sydney metropolitan region.

Who administers the Committee?

The Heritage Division provides secretariat services, strategic and logistical support to the Committee.

On behalf of the Chief Executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), the Director, Heritage Division will attend Committee meetings in a non-voting advisory and support capacity.

For further information and advice about the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee please contact the Committee Secretariat.

Page last updated: 13 March 2017