Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee provides advice to the Minister for Environment and Heritage on Aboriginal cultural heritage issues.

The Committee advises on a range of issues including identification, assessment and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage, heritage impact permit processes, management plans and legislative reform.

We recognise and celebrate the oldest living culture in the world. Through our own collaborative work with Indigenous communities, we strive for a more equitable, respectful, and fully reconciled country. We are all in this together and we all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation.

Statement from the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee, Heritage Council of NSW and Heritage NSW.

Our 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 in the future.

Targets

  • 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.

Meetings

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

Administration

Heritage NSW provides administrative and logistical support to the Committee.

  • Mr Paul Knight (Chair)
  • Ms Patricia Laurie (Deputy Chair)
  • Mr Jason Wilson
  • Ms Sharon Hodgetts
  • Ms Jodie Lawler
  • Ms Natalie Rotumah
  • Mrs Erica Smits
  • Mr Bert Gordon
  • Mr Ashley Walker.

Introduction

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee (the Committee) is established under sections 27 and 28, and Schedule 9 of the National and Parks Wildlife Act 1974.

The Committee is administered by Heritage NSW.

Their role is to advise the Minister for Environment and Heritage and the Executive Director of Heritage NSW on any matter relating to the identification, assessment and management of Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW.

This includes initiatives such as:

  • programs to increase Aboriginal participation in the management of Country in NSW
  • monitor and advise Heritage NSW on the delivery of the Aboriginal Heritage Conservation Program (AHCP)
  • consider and advise the Heritage Council of NSW on matters relating to Aboriginal Cultural Heritage, including the Thematic Listing Program (Aboriginal) for the State Heritage Register
  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage identification, assessment and protection methodologies and tools
  • Aboriginal heritage impact processes
  • policies and research relating to Aboriginal cultural heritage and the management of Country in NSW
  • communication strategies between Heritage NSW and Aboriginal communities on Aboriginal cultural heritage management matters
  • review and monitoring of legislation State Plan targets/goals/actions as it relates to Aboriginal cultural heritage.

1. Composition

1. The Committee is to consist of:

  1. 13 members appointed by the Minister in accordance with this clause, and
  2. an ex-officio member, being the Director-General (or his or her delegate).

1A. The ex-officio member is a non-voting member of the Committee.

2. The appointed members of the Committee are to consist of:

  1. one member nominated by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council
  2. one member nominated by the Heritage Council of New South Wales
  3. one member nominated by the NTSCORP Limited (ACN 098 971 209)
  4. 10 other members appointed from the following:
    1. nominees of Aboriginal elders groups
    2. registered native title claimants
    3. Aboriginal owners listed on the register under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983.

3. Members of the Committee are to be persons who:

  1. are involved in cultural heritage matters in their local communities
  2. have an understanding of cultural heritage management issues.

4. The Minister is to ensure that:

  1. as far as is reasonably practicable, there is gender balance in the membership of the Committee, and
  2. as far as is reasonably practicable, the members of the Committee come from a range of cultural areas across New South Wales, and
  3. all the appointed members of the Committee are Aboriginal persons.

5. The Minister is to cause an advertisement inviting written nominations of persons for appointment to the Committee to be published in a newspaper circulating throughout New South Wales and in a newspaper widely read in Aboriginal communities in New South Wales.

6. The advertisement must specify the following:

  1. the number of members to be appointed to the Committee pursuant to nomination
  2. the particular capacity or capacities (being a capacity specified in subclause (2) or (3)) that a member will be required to have
  3. the closing date for nominations (being a date not earlier than 28 days after the date of the advertisement)
  4. the address to which nominations are to be sent.

7. The advertisement must also state that a nomination will not be accepted unless the nominee’s written consent to the nomination is forwarded with the nomination.

8. The Minister is not to appoint a person as a member of the Committee unless:

  1. the person was duly nominated under this clause
  2. nominations have closed
  3. the Minister has considered all nominations duly received.

2. Terms of office

A member shall, subject to Schedule 9 of the Act, hold office for a period of 3 years or such lesser period as may be specified in the member’s instrument of appointment, and is eligible for reappointment as a member.

3. Removal from office

The Minister may, for any cause which to the Minister seems sufficient, remove from office any member of the Committee.

4. Vacation of office

A member of the Committee shall be deemed to have vacated the member’s office if the member:

  • dies
  • resigns the member’s office by writing under the member’s hand addressed to the Minister
  • becomes a temporary patient, a continued treatment patient, a protected person or an incapable person within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1958 or a person under detention under Part 7 of that Act
  • ceases to hold the qualification by virtue of which the member was appointed
  • is removed from office by the Minister.

5. Filling casual vacancy

On the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of a member of the Committee, otherwise than by the expiration of the term for which the member was appointed, the Minister may appoint a person to hold that office for the balance of the predecessor’s term of office, being a person qualified under clause 1 in the same manner (if any) of that predecessor.

6. Alternate members

The Minister may at any time appoint, as an alternate member to act during the absence or illness of a member of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee, a person qualified under clause 1 in the same manner (if any) as the person for whom he or she is the alternate member.

An alternate member shall have and may exercise, while acting as a member of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee, the powers, authorities, duties and functions, as such a member, of the person for whom he or she is the alternate member.

6A. Presiding member

At a meeting of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee, a member elected by the members present at the meeting to chair the meeting is to preside at the meeting.

7. Quorum

  1. Seven members shall form a quorum at any meeting of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee and any duly convened meeting at which a quorum is present shall be competent to transact any business of the Committee. A minimum of three male and three female members is required to be present to form a quorum.
  2. Questions arising at a meeting of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members present and voting.

8. Procedure

The procedure for the calling of meetings of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee and for the conduct of business at those meetings shall, subject to the Schedule and any regulations made in relation thereto, be as determined by the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee.

9. Fees

A member of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee shall be entitled to receive such fees and travelling or other expenses (if any) as the Minister may determine in respect of the member.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee was established in 2006 to advise the Minister for Environment and Heritage on matters relating to identification, assessment and management of Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW.

Our mission

Healthy Country is cared for and respected by all people, maintaining Aboriginal people’s spiritual and physical connection from the past to the present and into the future.

Our purpose

We build an awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal cultural heritage and its benefits for Aboriginal custodians and the broader community.

We ensure Aboriginal cultural heritage is protected and respected and we promote its value to the NSW Government, community, and our visitors.

Our members

Committee members have diverse knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture and heritage. This knowledge is unique because it comes from their own experiences of working on Country in their local communities. Our membership reflects the diversity of the Aboriginal population of New South Wales.

What we do

  • look, listen, learn and then lead
  • advise government on future changes to policy and legislation
  • be a voice for the diverse Aboriginal people of NSW
  • promote and advocate for self-determination
  • raise the profile of Aboriginal culture and heritage
  • promote the value of Aboriginal culture and Indigenous principles within the broader Australian society
  • monitor the delivery and effectiveness of Aboriginal cultural heritage programs in NSW.

Targets

  • Increased participation of Aboriginal people in the identification and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage, biodiversity and spiritual values in relation to land and water.
  • Increased participation of Aboriginal people in the management and protection of Country and cultural heritage.
  • Develop policies to support Aboriginal land owners and land managers to manage their lands for socio-economic, cultural and environmental outcomes.

Key strategic priorities

Our most fundamental priority is the reform of the legislation governing Aboriginal cultural heritage. We want to see:

  • broader recognition of Aboriginal cultural heritage values
  • decision-making by Aboriginal people
  • better information management
  • improved protection, management and conservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • greater confidence in the regulatory system.

We whole heartedly support self-determination for Aboriginal people. It is paramount in our role to ensure Aboriginal people in NSW are provided with the legal framework to make decisions about their own social, cultural and economic needs.