Friday, 02 June 2017 00:00

Tasmania upgrades Aboriginal heritage protection

The Tasmanian Government's Aboriginal Relics Amendment Bill 2016 and the Aboriginal Relics (Consequential Amendments) Bill has passed both houses of Parliament.

This legislation:

  • changes the name of the Act to the “Aboriginal Heritage Act”;

  • removes reference to 1876 as being a “cut-off” point for what is considered as Aboriginal heritage;

  • increases penalties for damage to Aboriginal heritage to be in line with the penalties for damage to non-Aboriginal heritage;

  • introduces scaled offences, in association with the removal of the ignorance defence and removal of the 6-month time limit for prosecuting offences;

  • establishes a statutory Aboriginal Heritage Council of Aboriginal people to advise the Minister; and

  • sets a statutory timeline for a further review of the Act.

The Minister for Environment and Parks, Matthew Groom said the additional protections the Bill provides for Aboriginal heritage demonstrates “our deep respect for Tasmania’s First People and their history”.

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