Northern Australia committee writes to WA Minister about Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill

THE Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia wrote to the WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Stephen Dawson MLC, on December 10, 2021 expressing the committee’s concerns about the WA Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill then being considered by the WA Parliament.

The letter was copied to the Commonwealth Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt AM MP.

The letter, co-signed by the chair of the committee, Warren Entsch MP, and Senator Pat Dodson, a member of the committee, outlined the committee’s disappointment with key provisions of the Bill and its failure to take account of recommendations of the committee’s final report into the destruction of the Aboriginal cultural heritage at Juukan Gorge.

Committee Chair Warren Entsch said the Bill "falls far short of the reforms advocated in the Committee’s final report on Juukan Gorge, in particular the call for consistency with the principles of free, prior and informed consent by Indigenous people”.

He said the Bill “conflicts with these principles by giving the Minister the ultimate power to decide whether mining or other activities can go ahead if traditional owners do not agree to an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (ACH) Management Plan put forward by a proponent company”.

Mr Entsch has also criticised the consultation process undertaken by the McGowan Government on the Bill, which he said “was not centred on culturally based protocols, was not undertaken in language and was not linked to elements of Aboriginal culture”.

The letters are available on the Committee’s website:

Additional Documents – Parliament of Australia (


Contact Us


PO Box 2144