Protecting Tasmania’s 40,000 years of Aboriginal heritage

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs

Roger Jaensch,Minister for Aboriginal Affairs

The Tasmanian Government is committed to protecting Tasmania’s remarkable 40,000 years of Aboriginal heritage.

That’s why I was pleased to table in the Tasmanian Parliament today the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 Review Report and the accompanying Tabling Report, which details the Government’s response to the review.

The review involved extensive public consultation, analysis of issues within the Act, comparisons with Aboriginal heritage legislation in other Australian jurisdictions and, importantly, careful consideration of feedback received from Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

We accept the content of the Review Report and are committed to developing a new Aboriginal Heritage Act for Tasmania as soon as possible, subject to further consultation on key issues raised in the Review.

In the meantime, we will begin work right now to deliver real improvements through the early consideration of Aboriginal heritage in planning, development assessment and approvals processes.

Early consideration can deliver greater protection for Aboriginal heritage and greater certainty for developers by allowing projects to respond to heritage matters at their planning stages, rather than after their designs and finances are committed.

We will also progress important projects that will deliver benefits now and support the proposed new legislation, including:

  • Replacing the current Aboriginal Heritage Register with a new system providing more information and better public access to it, while protecting sensitive information;
  • Supporting the Land Titles Office to provide early advice regarding Aboriginal heritage to people considering the purchase or transfer of property; and
  • Training and upskilling more Tasmanian Aboriginal people to work as Aboriginal Heritage Officers, to meet growing demand, within 18 months.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government remains committed to reconciliation and a brighter future for Tasmania’s Aboriginal people, and I look forward to working with them to deliver stronger protection for 40,000 years of Aboriginal heritage and culture in Tasmania.

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