The repeal of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2021 (WA) (ACHA) and reintroduction of an amended Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (AHA) is underway following the Aboriginal Heritage Legislation Amendment and Repeal Bill 2023 passing the Legislative Council on Tuesday 17 October 2023. We highlighted the key changes to the AHA in our previous update: The Shifting Sands of WA’s Cultural Heritage Landscape

An important later amendment arising from industry consultation is a new mechanism providing for the ‘transfer’ of section 18 consents. Section 18s now follow the land, rather than the landowner. The ‘transfer’ is automatic, except that where there is a change of owner, the new owner must notify the Minister within 14 days. The Minister may vary, revoke or amend an existing consent if, as a result of the change of owner, the consent or a condition no longer has the effect intended at the time of grant (which we take to include amendments to permission given explicitly to a named entity).

The date of the respective repeal and commencement is presently not confirmed, but anticipated to be in early November. The consultation period for the regulations and guidelines concluded earlier this month. We will comment on the final versions when they are released publicly.

Paralegal Author: Isabelle Spencer