Culture and heritage

Aboriginal cultural heritage

Previous Public feedback

The feedback collected below is from previous phases of public consultation on the Aboriginal cultural heritage reforms. To provide your feedback on the proposed new system and draft legislation currently open for public consultation, visit the draft legislation consultation page.

The feedback from each phase of public consultation demonstrates there are wide ranging and contrasting views on what a final Aboriginal cultural heritage reform model should look like. Reconciling and balancing these perspectives to finalise the reform model is challenging. The final model also needs to take account of other legislative reform and review initiatives (in NSW and nationally), and the latest best-practice approaches and lessons from other jurisdictions.

Phase 3 consultation

The phase 3 consultation process (September 2013 to March 2014) involved release of the recommendations of the independent Aboriginal Culture and Heritage Reform Working Party, the government’s proposed reform model (PDF 3.04MB), and supporting materials.

The following methods were used to support individuals and organisations to provide input:

  • Nineteen public workshops were held across the state with over 800 people attending. People were invited to work in small groups and record the critical issues or ideas they wanted the government to consider.
  • Sixty-seven online questionnaires were submitted. The questionnaire consisted of 28 questions to prompt consideration of the key features of the proposed model.
  • One hundred and forty-seven written submissions were received, ranging from a single sentence to 50 pages. Comments in submissions ranged from support for proposals, to suggested improvements, to opposition.

Overall the feedback indicated strong support for stand-alone legislation and the principles of the reform, as well as the intent to ensure Aboriginal cultural heritage values are considered earlier in the development assessment process and proactively for conservation.

Comments also focused on improving the wording of the new objectives and definitions, and options for identifying the right people to speak for Country.

Other feedback called for the approach to ‘significance’ to be revisited, for greater decision-making by Aboriginal people, for mandatory timeframes to be realistic and variable according to the scale of development, and further consideration to be given to the types of development to which the new Aboriginal cultural heritage framework should apply.

A summary of the combined feedback provided from workshops, online questionnaire responses and written submissions is captured in an overview report (PDF 225KB).

Workshop feedback

The feedback received through the workshops is captured in a summary report (267KB). The (unedited) notes taken at each workshop are also available (note that the views recorded were not necessarily supported by all workshop participants):


Responses to the questionnaire are set out in a summary report (PDF 501KB). The (unedited) open comment responses are also available:

Written submissions

Written submissions came from a broad range of individuals and stakeholder groups with an interest in Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW. The views expressed in these submissions have been collated in a summary report (PDF 417KB). The submissions themselves are also available (except where respondents specifically asked that their submission not be made public), and have been grouped according to interests or discipline:

Submissions from previous phases

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Page last updated: 13 September 2017