Section 18 Applications
Overview of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 with Minister’s foreword
If you own a piece of land on which an Aboriginal site is located, and you want to use this land e.g. for development, you may need to apply for consent from the Minister for Indigenous Affairs to do so under section 18 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. Please read the Due Diligence Guidelines and use the Heritage Risk Assessment Matrix at page 15 to find out if you need to submit an application.
The Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee (ACMC) considers applications from landowners to use land on which Aboriginal sites and objects are located. The ACMC then recommends to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs whether consent should be given to use the land for the purpose sought.
After the Minister considers the recommendations of the ACMC and also regards the general interest of the community he or she will either grant consent to the use of the land for the purpose sought or decline to give consent to the use. If the Minister consents, conditions may be attached to the use of the land.
Important information regarding the section 18 process:
Interaction between the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 and the Environmental Protection Act 1986
The Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA) no longer requires development proponents to provide detailed information about environmental assessment of their application when they submit Section 18 Notices.
Not all notices submitted to DIA trigger an Environmental Protection Authority referral.
However, applicants should be aware that, should a significant proposal be brought to the attention of the Minister for Indigenous Affairs by the Minister for Environment, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs’ power to make a decision under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 is constrained until the Environmental Protection Act 1986 Part IV assessment is complete. On occasion DIA may need to make enquiries to ensure there is no referral in place at the time the Minister for Indigenous Affairs is making his or her decision about the Notice.
In practice, DIA may request some information from the Applicant to ensure that a proposal is not a significant proposal which would trigger a referral by our Minister to the Minister for Environment. Most of the time such referrals are unlikely as proponents usually refer any significant proposals to the Environmental Protection Authority themselves.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs is subject to the Environmental Protection Act 1986 Part IV requirements if he or she has received notice from the Environmental Protection Authority.
Please direct any further queries to:
Registrar of Aboriginal Sites
Department of Indigenous Affairs
Ground Floor, 151 Royal Street, East Perth WA 6004
PO Box 3153, East Perth WA 6892