Article by Giovanni Torre for National Indigenous Times
Australia’s new Aboriginal Affairs Minister Linda Burney says the Federal Government will take Aboriginal heritage protection “very, very seriously”.
Her promise comes as a new website launched by the First Nations Heritage Alliance seeks to thrust the issue into mainstream conversation.
FNHPA on Friday launched its new website hosted by the National Native Title Council to help people to access information and resources about the alliance.
Ms Burney said the new government would consider national reforms to better protect Aboriginal heritage.
“This issue at the moment falls with the environment minister’s portfolio and not in Aboriginal Affairs but obviously the issue of Aboriginal heritage protection is something we take very, very seriously and there were discussions around establishing a stand-alone Commonwealth Aboriginal heritage protection act that outlines the minimum standards for states and territories,” she said.
“This is not something you would unilaterally do, you would talk to all the parties who would be impacted, including the states and territories.
“It is something very strongly understood by the Labor Party and the experience of Juukan Gorge is at the forefront of our minds.”
In April the former Morrison government announced funding to reform Aboriginal heritage protection at a national level.
However, the government would not confirm if the recommendations of the Juukan Gorge inquiry would be fully implemented under their plan.
The $11 million in funding was allocated across two years towards modernising Indigenous cultural heritage protections under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984.
FNHPA spokesman Kado Muir said at the time he understood $5 million would be used to support the consultation and co-design process for new Federal legislation.