Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS, Mr JAENSCH
The latest Aboriginal Heritage Council Year in Review reports four Aboriginal heritage projects were strongly opposed by your Statutory Advisory Council but you overrode that advice and approved them anyway. Yesterday, the federal Environment department requested more information from Wild Drake in order to full assess the proposed helicopter tourism development at Lake Malbena. They need a comprehensive Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment, what should have been done as part of the Parks and Wildlife assessment and considered by you under the Aboriginal Heritage Act. The federal department is, yet again, doing the work you failed to do.
Minister, of the four projects you approved against expert statutory advice in 2021-22, was one of them for chopper access to luxury huts on Halls Island? Have you issued a permit for the Lake Malbena development and was it given against the advice of the Aboriginal Heritage Council?
Mr Speaker, I thank Dr Woodruff for her question. As she knows, Aboriginal heritage in Tasmania is protected under law wherever it occurs. Whatever development encounters it is required to take appropriate steps, as laid out in our legislation.
Dr Woodruff - As you know, that law is a failure. You have said it yourself.
Mr SPEAKER - Leader of the Greens, order. You have asked the question, allow the minister to answer it. Please, do not continue to interject.
Mr JAENSCH - As the member knows, we are currently in the process of developing new Aboriginal cultural heritage protection legislation for Tasmania. It is a long and complex process, we have had significant consultation on it and we will be presenting more material for people to consider over the summer shortly.
Importantly, a new feature of the Aboriginal heritage legislation will be for Aboriginal people, our Aboriginal Heritage Council, to play an even greater role in determining how Aboriginal cultural heritage is managed.
Every development that occurs in Tasmania needs to go through all of the relevant state and Commonwealth approvals processes. The Lake Malbena proposal is in that process now. They are required to meet the approvals and assessment processes under whatever legislation, including EPBC, federal legislation, and assessment of Aboriginal culture heritage as part of that and we would expect the proponent to undertake anything required of them in that process. To my knowledge, there have been no specific permits granted by me or the state Government in relation to the matter that you raised for Lake Malbena. If I can find any further advice to update that, I will present it.