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Parliamentary Questions


Question Without Notice No. 997 asked in the Legislative Council on 17 November 2021 by Hon Sophia Moermond

Parliament: 41 Session: 1

ABORIGINAL CULTURAL HERITAGE BILL 2021

997. Hon SOPHIA MOERMOND to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs:

I refer to the lack of legal redress for Aboriginal knowledge holders to enforce for breaches under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021, as detailed at paragraphs 22 and 31 of the early warning and urgent action request to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

(1) Why is it that the bill contains no procedure for just and legal redress?

(2) Will the minister withhold the introduction of the bill until it does contain appropriate redress procedures for Aboriginal knowledge holders to enforce in respect of instances of destruction of cultural heritage?

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

(1)–(2) The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2021 includes significantly higher penalties to reflect the serious impact that harm to heritage has for Aboriginal people, with up to $10 million for a prescribed body corporate and $1 million or imprisonment up to five years for an individual. The bill provides that any penalties for harm offences will be paid into an Aboriginal cultural heritage compensation fund rather than to government's consolidated revenue, with compensation available to Aboriginal parties whose heritage has been harmed by the offence.