The first meeting of Council held on 26 February 2021, welcomed three new members – Greg Brown, Zoe Rimmer and Tanya Harper. The Council meeting followed an induction day that provided all members with policy and governance documents to support them in their role on the Council.
As the first point of business, Council appointed a new Deputy Chair, Zoe Rimmer. Photos of the three new Council members together with each member’s biography will soon be added to the Council’s website.
Council considered two permit applications submitted by proponents where project activity may impact Aboriginal cultural heritage.
As part of their consideration of the applications, members discussed the issue of buyers not being aware of registered Aboriginal heritage on their property prior to purchase. It was noted that these matters are to be considered in the review of the current legislation. Following their deliberations, members determined to not oppose either application.
The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment provided the Council with an update on the review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975. A Report on the review is expected to be presented to Parliament by April 2021.
The Hon. Roger Jaensch, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs joined the Council meeting via Microsoft Teams. Minister Jaensch welcomed new members and discussed the work of the Council for the coming year. Minister Jaensch emphasised that he is respectful of Council’s knowledge and advice. Council raised their concerns with the Minister regarding consideration of Aboriginal cultural heritage in the early stages of development planning.
Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania provided a presentation to Council on the work undertaken for the digital scanning of Aboriginal rock marking sites in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA). Council members requested Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania provide a further update on work undertaken at other sites in the TWWHA for the March meeting.
In the interests of more broadly promoting awareness of Aboriginal cultural heritage and sharing its important work with stakeholders and the community, the Council will prepare its first Annual Report for the 2020-21 financial year to be tabled in Parliament later this year.
Council will next meet on 26 March 2021.
Council meeting dates for 2021 can be found here.