Aboriginal Heritage Council Meeting

On 27 August 2021, the Council held its regular monthly meeting and reconsidered two permits held over from the previous meeting.  Following the receipt of further information, Council determined not to oppose either application. However, Council advised that conditions be placed on the first permit to provide greater protection to an area of public open space in which there was known Aboriginal heritage.

Council then considered two new permit applications, one of which was not opposed; and one which Council determined to oppose.

With the latter permit, members voiced concerns that the original developer of the subdivision had chosen not to undertake an Aboriginal heritage survey, despite many sites of significance within the local area.  In opposing the permit, Council agreed that they would urge the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to amend relevant legislation which will ensure Aboriginal heritage is considered early in the planning process, and further noted for the Minister that the Council does not support developments which have not engaged an Aboriginal heritage consultant.

The Council then considered a draft of their inaugural Year in Review publication, which will be published and provided to stakeholders, and made available on the Council website, by the end of October 2021.

Later, Council received a presentation from DPIPWE’s Water Policy and Planning Branch on the Branch’s work to develop a consultation and engagement policy with Aboriginal people on water interests.  The Branch seeks to understand how Aboriginal people want to engage, what the best model looks like, and whether that model looks different for different groups.

During the discussion, Council members noted the lack of resourcing of small Aboriginal organisations to provide feedback to parties who wish to consult with them.  Members further emphasised the importance of building capacity within the Aboriginal community, for example, through employment of Aboriginal people in the water management space.

Members invited the Branch representatives to return in six months’ time to provide a further update on their progress.

Members were provided with a second presentation, a short film created by Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania about the Healthy Country Plan being developed for a region in Tasmania’s far south.  Healthy Country Planning is a process that develops adaptive management plans with local communities for Aboriginal land management programs and ensures that culture, people and their knowledge are central to the land management process. 

Council then discussed the progress of the proposed cable car development for kunanyi.  The proponent is appealing the decision of the Hobart City Council to not approve the development, and members feel they should be involved in any representation to the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal, consistent with their presentation to the Hobart City Council in July 2021. Council determined to write to the Hobart City Council on this matter.

The next meeting of the Aboriginal Heritage Council is to be held on 24 September 2021 in Hobart.