Two archaeological associations have issued a joint statement expressing their concern about WA’s draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage bill.

The Australian Archaeological Association and the Australian Indigenous Archaeologist’s Association said they were “deeply concerned” that the draft bill would not meet intended goals and fear the Juukan Gorge tragedy could be repeated “time and again.”

AAA President Tiina Manne said the bill in its current state poses a very high risk for Aboriginal communities, industry and heritage practice.

Among their concerns, a continued focus on facilitating development approvals rather than protecting Aboriginal sites and “vague and inconsistent” use of definitions that could provide opportunities for exploitation of loopholes.

The President of the AIAA, David Johnston, said the Commonwealth Government must assume responsibility and accountability to protect Indigenous heritage at a national level. 

“Indigenous communities must also carefully consider who is advocating for ‘us’ on the heritage reform agenda,” Mr Johnston said.  

Public submissions for the draft bill closed on Friday.