The Aboriginal Heritage Council met for their regular monthly meeting on 26 November 2021 in Hobart.
Following an Expression of Interest process which commenced in July 2021, two new members, Joselle Griffin and Camilla Woolley, were welcomed to the Council. Joselle and Camilla were appointed to three-year membership terms by the Governor in early November 2021. Hank Horton and Jeanymaree Jenkinson were congratulated on their reappointment of 18-month terms, after completing first terms of three years. These appointments return the Council to a full complement of ten members.
Members were also presented with copies of their inaugural Year in Review report, developed over several months, which describes the Council’s activities throughout the financial year 2020-21. A broad selection of stakeholders, including the Governor, Premier and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, as well as Aboriginal organisations throughout the State, were also provided with copies of the report.
Council considered four permit applications, resolving to oppose them all. Each application, although for projects of different sizes and impacts, was discussed carefully by members, who noted that in opposing these permits, they had an opportunity to help protect and conserve Aboriginal heritage which is subject to considerable impact by small developments. Members were particularly opposed to a planned development which would profit from the destruction of Aboriginal heritage should it proceed.
Members received a presentation from archaeologists undertaking survey work regarding proposed infrastructure works at Launceston Airport. The presenters discussed the known Aboriginal heritage at the site and the potential for further discoveries as the development progressed. Options for how to manage these finds were considered, with the proponents very keen to have interpretation at the airport to acknowledge the long Aboriginal cultural history of the area.
Finally, members confirmed meeting dates for 2022, with the first full meeting of Council to be held on 26 February 2022. Members agreed for a meeting to be held via MS Teams in January 2022, should there be permits to consider or other business requiring the Council’s attention.
The next meeting of the Aboriginal Heritage Council will be held on 17 December 2021 via MS Teams. The decision was made to hold this meeting via Teams given the proximity to the re-opening of state borders, and the need to consider the safety of members, avoiding unnecessary travel and group gatherings.