The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA) continues to operate in Western Australia, but will be superseded, upon the completion of regulations, by the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 (ACH Act)
The ACH Act provides a new framework for the recognition, protection, conservation and preservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage.
Before the ACH Act comes into operation there will be a transitional period of at least 12 months during which the regulations, statutory guidelines and operational policies will be developed to ensure the ACH Act will have its intended effects.
The transitional period will allow for the new Aboriginal cultural heritage management system to be fully established and to enable parties to prepare for the new system. During the transitional period the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 will remain in force to allow proponents to continue to seek section 18 consent for any activity that will impact Aboriginal sites. Any section 18 consents applied for and granted during this period will be limited to 5 years and will be subject to additional protection mechanisms, including the requirement to report new information about the existence or the characteristics of Aboriginal cultural heritage.