So much is changing in Aboriginal cultural heritage protection and regulation in NSW it is little wonder I missed the date for my 3rd blog post. Apologies to all. The Omnibus bill went before the Upper house on Monday night. It was accepted with very minor changes. The amended version must go back before the Lower house but never the less is progressing towards applying in the not too distant future.
In the words of Director General in April this year:- “This Bill, introduced in Parliament on 25 February 2010, is the first phase of broad Aboriginal Cultural Heritage reform, It will implement Government’s decision to make changes to the National Parks and Wildlife Act and improve enforcement and operation of the regulatory provisions relating to Aboriginal cultural heritage.
Government has also committed to considering a stand along piece of Aboriginal cultural heritage legislation and a Working Party is being established to develop proposals over the next two years” (DECCW 2010).
The new reforms will provide for the imposing of much more appropriate penalties for impacts on Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW.
I cannot help but wonder where the new changes will take us. It appears to me that many Aboriginal people have spent a lot of years attempting to move archaeological and scientific thinking towards a holistic understanding of our environment. Acknowledgement of the cultural landscape. The connection between the natural and the cultural and the evidence of that continuing relationship.
Separating the two values of Aboriginal life for protection and regulatory purposes: the natural resources and the cultural use of them may not be the step forward that many seek.