Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Aboriginal Heritage Act amended to protect intangible heritage

The Commission welcomes the amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act, which now provides protection of intangible Aboriginal heritage including stories, songs and dance.

Under the new provisions in the Act a group of traditional owners or native title holders can apply to have a piece of intangible heritage, defined as "any knowledge of or expression of Aboriginal tradition, other than Aboriginal cultural heritage", included on the Aboriginal heritage register.

Penalties range up to $280,000 for an individual and $1.5 million for a corporation that exploits Indigenous knowledge or culture for commercial purposes without the consent of the traditional owners.

The new laws come into force in Victoria on 1 August 2016.

Victoria is the first state in Australia to legislate to protect indigenous intangible heritage.

View the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Act 2016