The Allan Labor Government has denied a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 amid the news the collapse of a key indigenous land council will lead to lengthy delays for development projects.
Projects across a section of Victoria are facing delays of up to five months after the Bunurong Land Council was placed into administration.
The Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Peter Walsh, today moved to establish the inquiry as it became clear the land council’s assessment of cultural heritage management plans was at a standstill until at least April next year.
But Labor snubbed the push for an inquiry and full report by the end of next year focusing on several issues including the timely processes and efficient assessments.
Mr Walsh said: “To silence debate and look the other way is typical Labor.”
“Homebuilders, local government and farmers are facing serious delays and disruption, and the Liberals and Nationals proposed a constructive way to find solutions for all Victorians.
“While it is important to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage, this must be done in a timely way that doesn’t impose unreasonable time constraints or costs onto development in Victoria.”
The Act provides the legal framework for the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council and the Registered Aboriginal Parties that manage cultural heritage management plans.
The inquiry would have given the Parliament an opportunity to review the Act, to report on its effectiveness, and to assess its impact on Victoria’s deepening housing crisis, local government activities, farming, and other matters.
“In a housing and cost-of-living crisis, this inquiry was an opportunity for Labor to ensure that cultural management plans can support the development Victorians need,” Mr Walsh said.
“Victorians need new homes, new schools, new hospitals and new infrastructure – now.
“Premier Allan can’t manage money, can’t manage projects, and won’t manage cultural heritage in a way that supports development for all Victorians.”