Page 3317 - Week 10 - Friday, 26 August 2005

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Answers to questions

Aboriginal artefacts
(Question No 461)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice, on 16 August 2005:

(1) What process is followed in relation to the discovery and subsequent removal of Aboriginal artefacts in the ACT;

(2) What happens to such artefacts after their removal.

Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

Aboriginal places and objects in the ACT are administered in accordance with procedures established by the Heritage Act 2004 (the Act).

Sections 51 to 53 of the Act set out processes for reporting the discovery of Aboriginal places and objects, and assessing their heritage significance.

When sites that contain Aboriginal artefacts are discovered they are reported to the Heritage Council.

Depending on the nature of the report (i.e. whether made by a person professionally trained to recognise artefacts) staff from the Heritage Unit may undertake a site visit to check the details of the discovery. If confirmed, the site is entered into the Heritage Unit’s database of site locations and the consultative process of significance assessment commences.

Artefacts may only be removed from sites in controlled circumstances, with the agreement of the Heritage Council and Aboriginal community organisations.

The preferred option for site management is to leave materials in situ. However there are circumstances where removal of artefacts is considered prudent. For example where artefacts may be easily recognised and vulnerable to souveniring their removal might be recommended. Artefacts may also be removed to avoid development related impacts. Sometimes they are removed temporarily and returned to a site when a development has been completed. Sometimes they are moved from their find location to elsewhere within their wider site area to avoid impacts.

If artefacts are removed permanently they are stored on behalf of the Heritage Council, pending establishment of the ACT Keeping Place.

(Question No 463)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, upon notice, on 16 August 2005:

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