The Aboriginal Heritage Council met for their final monthly meeting for 2021 on 17 December. The meeting was held via MS Teams, a decision which was made due to the proximity of the meeting to the re-opening of state borders, and the need to consider the safety of members, avoiding unnecessary travel and group gatherings.
Council considered three permit applications, resolving to defer the consideration of one, while further information was sought; and to not oppose the issuance of the remaining two. In not opposing two permits, members particularly noted the efforts proponents had to mitigate or avoid impacts to Aboriginal heritage.
Members received a presentation on the work undertaken by the Cultural Management Group of Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania during 2021. The Cultural Management Group manages the TWWHA’s Aboriginal cultural heritage values in collaboration with Tasmania’s Aboriginal people and routinely seeks the Council’s input and guidance.
The work undertaken by the Cultural Management Group includes a comprehensive survey of the TWWHA to ascertain all Aboriginal values; analysis of previous Aboriginal cultural heritage work to understand key knowledge gaps and identifying at-risk sites and developing a program of prioritised management actions for these sites. Acting Chair Zoe Rimmer thanked the team on behalf of the Council, noting the very impressive scale of work they achieved over the year.
The Council also received a presentation from representatives from the Department of State Growth and consultants regarding the proposed Kingston Bypass Duplication, an election commitment from the Tasmanian Government. The proponents noted the project is still in the concept stage, with no design to consider as yet. Council members advised that a comprehensive survey of the project area should be undertaken, to achieve a full understanding of the Aboriginal cultural heritage values of the site. This is to be presented at a future meeting of the Council.
The next meeting of the Aboriginal Heritage Council is scheduled for 25 February 2022; however, an additional earlier meeting may be called if there is other business requiring the Council’s attention. Until current Covid restrictions ease, meetings will continue to take place remotely via MS Teams.