AGRIBUSINESS

Has the ACH act been scrapped?

WESTERN Australian farming bodies and opposition leaders are waiting on the State Government to officially confirm the controversial Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act will be canned after speculation of a backflip started mounting late last week.

Staff Writer
The controversial ACH Act, which requires farmers to have a permit for activities such a building a fence line, will allegedly be scrapped. Image courtesy Kondinin Group.

The controversial ACH Act, which requires farmers to have a permit for activities such a building a fence line, will allegedly be scrapped. Image courtesy Kondinin Group.

The government alledgedly indicated the act will be abolished after a briefing with resources companies and Indigenous groups on Friday, but there have been no official statements as yet. 

Leader of the Nationals WA, Shane Love, said on Saturday the Government needs to address speculation "their botched Heritage Laws" will be scrapped, as the community needed clarity on the future of the laws.

"If true, what caused the Government to make this spectacular backflip and what the fallout will be for people who have made changes to their business operations under this Act," he added.   

Love said Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti buried his head in the sand on the issue, even after 30,000 petitioners and concerned stakeholders expressed very real concerns about how the Act would impact WA.

"The Minister wouldn't even front up to the education sessions to hear the community's concerns firsthand," he said.

"The arrogance of this Government in their implementation of this failed piece of legislation has caused great concern and distress for landowners and communities right across the State.

"As speculation mounts around the WA Labor Government scrapping their poorly constructed heritage laws, Premier Cook and Minister Buti need to realise the untold impact this whole process has had on people's businesses and the division it has driven in the community."

Liberal WA Shadow Lands Minister, Neil Thomson, who lodged the petition on behalf of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA, said there is ‘an opportunity for the government to make good its alleged commitment to scrap the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage laws" on Facebook over the weekend. He added "it's bizarre that the Premier has not commented on this and leaves millions of ongoing investments in limbo." 

Even though the move has yet to be confirmed, WAFarmers welcomed the state government's alleged plan to scrap the new laws.

"The hardest thing for any government to do is admit it got it wrong," WAFarmers said on Facebook.

"No doubt WAFarmers campaign over the past two years has made a huge difference.

"We were one of the few lonely voices saying this was heading in the wrong direction back when the Liberals and Nationals waved the legislation through two years ago.

"Since then, we have repeatedly warned the government that this was never going to work across the freehold farming estate and the new model of LACHS was ripe for abuse."

WA Farmers said they support protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage, just not at the expense of farmers property rights.

"Ultimately no one wants to see Aboriginal cultural heritage destroyed but we also don't want to see our property rights undermined," WA Farmers said.

 

 

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