Culture and heritage

Aboriginal cultural heritage

Aboriginal cultural heritage reforms

The NSW Government has proposed a new system for managing and conserving Aboriginal cultural heritage. It will be supported by a new legal framework that respects and conserves Aboriginal cultural heritage in New South Wales. 

In February 2018, the NSW Government released the Draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2018, which proposed a new system for managing and conserving Aboriginal cultural heritage in New South Wales. The release of the Bill for public comment was supported by two webinars and 39 public information sessions and workshops across the state from September 2017 to April 2018.

Feedback was received from nearly 700 people attending workshops, over 100 written submissions, verbal submissions and responses through the Have Your Say online portal. All feedback is being considered as the draft Bill is finalised. Subject to the author's consent, written submissions will be published, together with a Summary of Submissions Report.

The proposed new system offers a transformative, contemporary and respectful vision for the management of Aboriginal cultural heritage in New South Wales. The aims of the proposed new system are:

  1. broader recognition of Aboriginal cultural heritage values – by recognising in law a more respectful and contemporary understanding of Aboriginal cultural heritage
  2. decision making by Aboriginal people – by creating a new governance structures that gives Aboriginal people legal responsibility for and authority over Aboriginal cultural heritage
  3. better information management – improving outcomes for Aboriginal cultural heritage through new information management systems and processes that are overseen by Aboriginal people
  4. improved protection, management and conservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage – by providing broader protection and more strategic conservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage values
  5. greater confidence in the regulatory system – by providing better upfront information to support assessments, clearer consultation processes and timeframes, and regulatory tools that can adapt to different types of projects.

To stay up to date, please send your contact details to the Aboriginal cultural heritage (ACH) reforms team at: ach.reform@environment.nsw.gov.au

Page last updated: 31 August 2018