Aboriginal Heritage Agreements

ACHLMas documents the approach to Aboriginal heritage management by presenting the results of a cultural heritage assessment and defining consensus measures on how Aboriginal cultural heritage is protected and managed over a period of time during land creation activities in a given area of agreement. A cultural heritage agreement cannot replace a heritage approval or a cultural heritage management plan (CHMP). A cultural heritage convention should not harm Aboriginal heritage, but it can formalize the day-to-day management of that heritage. Aboriginal land management agreements are voluntary agreements between a registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) and a public administrator. Local cultural heritage agreements are subject to approval by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, with the corresponding application for authorization pursuant to Section 21 or Section 23 of the AHA. The authorisation is conditional on the agreement satisfactorily treating all assets in the area concerned. After approval, the Minister must grant the appropriate authorization. Australian governments have a series of laws on the protection of indigenous heritage, including the EPBC Act, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. An ACHLMA provides a mutually agreed framework for the protection and management of Aboriginal heritage during ongoing land management activities within a RAP territory. A cultural heritage convention is a voluntary agreement between two or more parties on the management or protection of Aboriginal heritage. One of the parties must be a relevant RAP. Aboriginal Australians are involved in the development of plans to manage Aboriginal heritage sites on national or Commonwealth Heritage lists. National Heritage sites on Aboriginal lands can be exploited through conservation agreements that operate in the same way as Aboriginal conservation areas.

The Amended Aboriginal Heritage Act of 1988 (AHA) introduces the appointment of recognized Aboriginal Representation Bodies (RARBs) to manage the impact of exploration, mining, development and other activities on Aboriginal heritage throughout South Australia. Where a site is designated to be listed as a national or Commonwealth heritage site and the Council considers that it may have indigenous heritage values, the Council must endeavour to identify indigenous peoples with local rights and interests.

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