New members sought for Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council

  • Four additional Council members sought to oversee new Aboriginal cultural heritage laws
  • Seeking new members with experience in engineering, land management and natural resource management
  • Inaugural Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council appointed September 2022

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Dr Tony Buti has called for expressions of interest for new members to join the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council.

Up to four new members with knowledge or experience in Aboriginal cultural heritage and skilled in engineering, land management, natural resource management, anthropology or archaeology will be added to the seven-member Council.

The new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 will take effect from 1 July 2023 introducing a modern framework for the protection and management of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

The inaugural Council was created in September 2022 and formed by a mixture of members experienced in Aboriginal cultural heritage, environment, planning, law and Government and led by male and female Aboriginal Co-Chairs, Irene Stainton and Dr Mark Bin Bakar.

The other Council members are Merle Carter, Kevin Walley, Graham Castledine, Dr Debbie Fletcher, and Belinda Moharich.

The Act allows for a total of 11 members on the Council, with majority Aboriginal membership.

Since being appointed, the Council has overseen the third and final phase of the co-design process involving consultation required by the Act of key statutory guidelines, before submission to Government for final consideration.

The functions of the Council under the new legislative framework are to:

  • promote the role of Aboriginal people as the right people to speak for their country and determine activities that may cause harm to their cultural heritage;
  • provide advice to the State Government and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs;
  • designate local Aboriginal cultural heritage services (LACHS);
  • set standards to identify, protect and manage Aboriginal cultural heritage;
  • facilitate negotiations between proponents and Aboriginal parties when agreement cannot be reached; and
  • promote public awareness, understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal cultural heritage in Western Australia.

To be eligible for membership, nominees must have knowledge about Aboriginal cultural heritage or have experience in matters relating to Aboriginal cultural heritage. Consideration of knowledge, skills, experience or qualifications in a range of other disciplines/fields will also be taken into account.

Nominations are open until 30 April 2023. For more information and application details, visit

As stated by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti:

"We are well progressed with our plans to implement Western Australia's new Aboriginal cultural heritage laws and I am pleased to call for nominations to expand the membership, knowledge base and experience of the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council.

"The inaugural Council was appointed last year and additional members are now being sought to increase the collective level of expertise within the group.

"We have a strong, experienced and passionate group of people committed to implementing the new laws and empowering Aboriginal people to be at the forefront of decision making about activities that impact on their cultural heritage.

"The Council has an integral role to play as the new laws become operational. We want to maximise the provisions for Council membership to help administer the new system and ensure that the broad range of cultural considerations and land uses is reflected in the collective expertise of members."

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