Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in New South Wales: Public consultation

The NSW Government is reforming the way Aboriginal cultural heritage is conserved and managed in New South Wales and has recently received feedback from the public on the proposed new system. The public consultation on the draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2018 is now closed.

Raising hands graphicThe first step involves changing the law for conserving and managing Aboriginal cultural heritage. This will form the cornerstone of a new legal framework that will, over time, also include new regulations, policies and guidelines.

In September 2017, the NSW Government released a proposal paper which outlined the aims and key proposals of the new legal framework. This was followed by the release of the draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill in February 2018. A series of information sessions, workshops and webinars were held to obtain feedback from the public and key stakeholders on the new legal framework and details of the draft Bill.

Where is the process up to?

Public consultation on the proposed new system to conserve and manage Aboriginal cultural heritage in New South Wales was open from 11 September 2017 to 20 April 2018. Feedback received during the public consultation period is currently being considered by the NSW Government.

An estimated 560 people attended the first stage of public consultation in September and October 2017, which consisted of 19 information sessions at various locations throughout New South Wales. Most feedback from the information sessions was positive. Overall, participants were satisfied with the level of information provided, understood the proposals, and felt safe and comfortable with the format.

In March and April 2018, a series of workshops in the same 19 locations, as well as an additional one in Tamworth, were held. About 700 people attended the workshops which provided an opportunity for people to discuss the proposed new system and provide feedback.

Two online webinars were also held – a general webinar and one that focused on the regulatory proposals. About 110 people attended these webinars. The webinars are available for viewing.

What the proposed new system aims to do

The proposed new system aims to fulfil the NSW Government's commitment to deliver stand-alone legislation that respects and conserves Aboriginal cultural heritage for current and future generations. It also aims to recognise Aboriginal custodianship and ensure Aboriginal people have the authority to make decisions about Aboriginal cultural heritage, while providing clear and consistent processes for economic and social development in New South Wales.


To assist the public and key stakeholders understand the proposed new system, a series of videos were developed:

  • Video 1: Introduction to the proposed new system for managing and conserving Aboriginal cultural heritage in New South Wales.
  • Video 2: Why there is a need for change and the benefits of the proposed new system.

Videos 3 and 4 provide more detailed information about the different components of the proposed new system.

  • Video 3: An overview of the proposed new Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment pathway.
  • Video 4: A webinar recording of an information session about the proposed new system for managing and conserving Aboriginal cultural heritage.
  • Video 5: A webinar recording on the regulatory proposals set out in the draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2018.