Council takes a stand on Aboriginal cultural heritage
19 August 2015
The Toowoomba Regional Council has undertaken extensive internal staff training on Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment. This new process is a proactive approach to protecting and managing Aboriginal values in the landscape. Over three workshops, 45 staff were given valuable training by Redleaf's Cultural Heritage specialist. The training was tailored to implement constructive change in this area for council.
The main purpose of the training was to ensure Council as a key land owner and manager meets it Cultural Heritage Duty of Care obligations. There are some good reasons to meet its obligations under the Queensland Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003.
Failure to take reasonable and practical measures to meet the cultural heritage duty of care or unlawful harm to Aboriginal Cultural Heritage can result in maximum penalties of $114,000 for individuals and $1.14 million for corporations. Apart from financial penalties there are also provisions in the Act for the relevant Minister to issue stop orders for up to 30 days.
The process is for council officers who plan, design and manage on-ground activities. For these activities, the project and persons involved must comply with the requirement of the duty of care provisions under the Act.
The following activities are examples of where the assessment process applies:
- The establishment of new roads and associated burrow pits
- New infrastructure e.g. water pipeline
- Clearing remnant vegetation
- Duplication of existing utilities e.g. increasing size/number of water pipes through existing easement
- New excavation works in a location without prior disturbance