Heritage law prompts talks

Glenn CordingleyBroome Advertiser

A proposal that could lead to Broome being protected under State Aboriginal heritage laws has sparked a flurry of high-level talks to discuss the potential impact on residents and development.

The news comes just weeks after a notice of application to protect a huge part of Cable Beach was advertised under the Federal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 1984.

Several concerns were raised over potential beach restrictions but Nyamba Buru Yawuru chairwoman Debra Pigram dismissed them as “unfounded”.

The WA Department of Aboriginal Affairs has since publicly advertised several site re-assessment notifications throughout WA under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972.

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One of them — LSC11 or DAA30274 — overlaps the entire town site of Broome.

People who believe they may be affected have until November 25 to make written submissions to the Registrar of Aboriginal Sites in Perth. The Shire of Broome has been in urgent talks with the DAA over the proposal and council chief executive Kenn Donohoe this week flew to Perth to seek legal advice from department officials.

Shire president Ron Johnston confirmed the council was consulting lawyers as there was concern as DAA30274 threatened to “add another layer of bureaucracy to development approvals”.

“The aim is to reduce red tape, not create red tape. We need to work collaboratively with everyone concerned with the hope of obtaining a satisfactory outcome,” he said.

The DAA said if the site was registered, it would not affect the ownership of a property or the owner’s right to use their land in an otherwise approved way for things such as farming, tourism or any other private land use but applicants would need to contact the DAA for advice regarding potential impact on an Aboriginal heritage site for “significant work requiring planning approval”.

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