A Traditional Owner group in Western Australia is calling for the State Government to come back to the table to redesign a new Aboriginal heritage bill.

There has been increasing opposition to new heritage laws crafted by the Western Australian Government which are expected to get the green light considering Labor has control of the parliament.

There has been a spotlight on addressing heritage protections for First Nations sacred sites following the destruction of 46,000-year-old sacred rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia by Rio Tinto in 2020.

The draft laws have been slammed by Traditional Owners, and investors, as being rushed and giving decision making power to the Government.

The Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation says First Nations people need the ability to say no to mining projects.

Doris Eaton is a Njamal and Pitjikarli woman, and YMAC Deputy Co-Chairperson for the Pilbara Region.

She says destruction of the Juukan Gorge rock shelters has been highlighted but it’s not the only site that has been destroyed.

Some of the criticisms that have been levelled against the new laws are the speed at which the laws are being pushed through and that they leave all decision-making power with the Government.

Kado Muir is a Co-Chair of the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance, he says heritage laws are more focused on granting permits to destroy country instead of protecting it.

The comment comes following an announced partnership between the Alliance and the Federal Government which is expected to see First Nations people have input on improving laws, policies, and processes at a national level.

Kado Muir says if the standard can be set at a national level, states and territories may need to adhere to them.