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Prime Minister must rule out WA-style Cultural Heritage laws

Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud is calling on the Prime Minister to rule out federal Aboriginal heritage reforms, after revelations the Western Australian government is set to scrap its Cultural Heritage laws.

Mr Littleproud said it was now more important than ever that the Prime Minister ruled out federal laws that would simply replace the Western Australian laws.

He said the Western Australian laws overreached, requiring cultural surveys for even digging a hole.

The Federal Labor Government has released an ‘Options Paper’ for a national model, but has so far been unable to give Australian farmers and private property owners more certainty about future reforms.

Federal laws would create another Indigenous body that would have the power to prevent a development and force its redesign, which potentially go further than WA’s laws.

“I welcome reports the WA government will abandon its Cultural Heritage Act, which impacts those with blocks of more than 1100 square metres,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The changes required cultural surveys for digging a hole more than 50 centimetres, or lifting more than 20 kilograms of dirt, for activities such as mending fences, planting trees or clearing tracks.

“It would cost enormous sums of money for such surveys, with charges between $120 to $160 an hour or $1200 a day, plus travel expenses.

“Australian farmers have a strong record of protecting cultural sites and want to do the right thing. Labor must now explain how the federal reforms will work and rule out forcing property owners to undergo expensive mandatory cultural surveys and undermining private property rights.”

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