The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) has welcomed the establishment of an ‘Implementation Group’ that will assist with addressing potential issues in relation to the implementation of the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (ACH) framework that comes into effect on Saturday.

UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck has been appointed to the group, along with other peak industry representatives from the property, mining, farming and agriculture sectors.

“UDIA WA has been proactively engaging with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) and relevant stakeholders on requirements under the new frameworks in order to ensure the development industry have all the information they need to be ready for the implementation of the ACH Act on July 1,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“While we have raised genuine concerns around the timeframe of implementation, we are supportive of the new framework and the importance of protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage in the longer term,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“To date, senior representatives from DPLH have been very willing to take the time to communicate and engage with our members on the upcoming changes and we have appreciated the open dialogue that has occurred,” Ms Steinbeck said.

While UDIA WA is supportive of the new framework, the development industry has legitimate concerns regarding the implementation timeframe, particularly in relation to the establishment of Local Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Services (LACHS).

“While developers are concerned that the lag in establishing these bodies may lead to delays in development approvals processes, we have been assured by both DPLH and representatives from the relevant Aboriginal regional corporations that they are ready and willing to work with us,” Ms Steinbeck said.

David Collard, CEO of Whadjuk Aboriginal Corporation, spoke at a UDIA WA event on Tuesday in relation to the new framework.  A UDIA WA event earlier in April included a presentation from Irene Stainton AO, Co-Chair of the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council.

“David Collard has emphasised the importance of working together and engaging in positive dialogue to ensure that we can navigate the new framework effectively,” Ms Steinbeck.

“I, and our members, appreciate his assurance and we are looking forward to that positive collaboration moving forward,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Ultimately, our members are focused on delivering much needed housing within fantastic communities to the people of Western Australia,” Ms Steinbeck said.  “To do that, it requires collaboration across government, private industry and the community to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

“I thank the Minister, Aboriginal leaders and the DPLH team for their dedication to a positive outcome and UDIA WA looks forward to representing our members effectively on the Implementation Group,” Ms Steinbeck said.