The National Native Title Council had condemned the new Aboriginal heritage laws in Western Australia as ‘discriminatory’ legislation that will not avert future disasters similar to Juukan Gorge.
The passing of the legislation in Western Australia’s parliament last night has been widely condemned by traditional owner groups and some Federal MPs, including WA Labor Senator Pat Dodson who described the legislation as a failure to prevent “cultural genocide.”
The bill passed the upper house on Tuesday evening and will go to Government House for royal assent.
The new law gives WA’s Aboriginal affairs minister the final say on all applications for the destruction of sacred sites, with traditional owners granted limited rights to judicial appeal.
The WA government has defended the bill, describing it as “the most progressive cultural heritage legislation in the country” but that claim is disputed by National Native Title Council CEO Jamie Lowe.
“They talk about reconciliation, they talk about a progressive government but its obvious within this piece of legislation there’s still a way to go in listening to First Nations voices.
[Earlier] I was listening to Senator Dawson speak about First Nations people as stakeholders. That language is fundamentally flawed.”