Aus mining state passes Aboriginal heritage law.

 Aus mining state passes Aboriginal heritage law.

Western Australia, the country’s largest mining state, has passed a new law that aims to protect the cultural heritage of Aboriginal communities. The legislation, which was passed unanimously by the state’s parliament, is a significant step towards recognizing and respecting the rights of Indigenous Australians.

The new law, called the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill 2020, replaces the outdated Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. The previous law had been criticized for being too weak and failing to adequately protect Aboriginal cultural sites and artifacts.

Under the new legislation, mining companies and other developers will be required to obtain consent from traditional owners before carrying out any activities that could damage or destroy Aboriginal heritage sites. The law also establishes a new independent body, the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Council, to advise the government on matters related to Aboriginal heritage.

The passing of the new law has been welcomed by Aboriginal groups and environmental organizations, who have long been advocating for stronger protections for cultural heritage sites. The Western Australian Aboriginal Heritage Alliance, a coalition of Indigenous groups, said the new law was a “historic moment” and a “significant step forward” in recognizing the importance of Aboriginal culture and heritage.

The mining industry, which is a major contributor to the Western Australian economy, has also expressed support for the new legislation. The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia said the law would provide greater certainty for mining companies and help to build stronger relationships with traditional owners.

However, some critics have raised concerns that the new law may not go far enough in protecting Aboriginal heritage. The Greens party, for example, has called for a moratorium on all mining activities in areas of cultural significance until a comprehensive review of the legislation is carried out.

Despite these concerns, the passing of the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill 2020 is a significant milestone in the ongoing struggle for recognition and respect for Aboriginal culture and heritage in Australia. It is hoped that the new law will help to ensure that the voices and rights of Indigenous Australians are heard and respected in the development of the country’s natural resources.