In 2020, the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia led an inquiry into the destruction of the 46,000 year old caves at Juukan Gorge, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The committee released two reports:
- A Way Forward: Final report into the destruction of Indigenous heritage sites at Juukan Gorge (18 October 2021).
- Never Again: Inquiry into the destruction of 46,000 year old caves at the Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia- Interim Report (7 December 2020).
The committee made eight recommendations including, but not limited to:
- improving cultural heritage laws and regulation
- adopting improved cultural heritage frameworks, policy and administration
- developing a model for a cultural heritage truth telling process
- reviewing the Native Title Act.
The Australian Government has noted or agreed to all the committee’s recommendations.
Reform of First Nations cultural heritage protections is urgent and necessary.
The Australian Government has committed to doing the work to ensure better ongoing protection for First Nations cultural heritage.
We are working with the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance to develop options to reform First Nations cultural heritage protections.
On 24 November 2022, Minister Plibersek, on behalf of the Australian Government, signed a new Partnership Agreement with the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance.
This new agreement extends and expands our work with the Alliance, to work in a genuine co-design partnership with the Alliance and communities to reform our cultural heritage laws.
Learn more about First Nations Heritage.