Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Natalie Hutchins, today met for the first time with the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (VAHC), and applauded their strong leadership in ensuring Aboriginal cultural heritage is protected for all Victorians.
The VAHC, comprising entirely of Victorian Aboriginal Traditional Owners, is the first and only one of its kind in Australia.
Ms Hutchins said the VAHC are a driving force in strengthening the Aboriginal cultural heritage management system, by developing an effective Aboriginal Ancestral Remains process, in which Traditional Owners are at the centre of decision-making.
The VAHC provides advice to Ms Hutchins regarding the management and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage throughout Victoria. The Council’s work is an example of what can be achieved through self-determination.
One of the VAHC’s core functions is the appointment of Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) that work to protect and manage Aboriginal cultural heritage located on their traditional lands. There are currently ten RAPs across Victoria.
Ms Hutchins reaffirmed the $20.9 million provided in the 2015-16 State Budget to support Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Strategy. A significant portion of this will be allocated to support RAPs.
The role of the VAHC as an effective peak body with oversight of RAPs was also strengthened, with funding to support new functions. Further investment will be allocated to support an efficient and coordinated Aboriginal Ancestral Remains system - a key concern for Traditional Owners raised by the VAHC.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Natalie Hutchins
“It was an honour to meet with the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council today to congratulate them on their strong leadership and efforts in placing our state’s Aboriginal cultural heritage in the hands of Traditional Owners.”
“We’re privileged to have Australia’s first and only Aboriginal Heritage Council comprised entirely of Victorian Aboriginal Traditional Owners.”
“The respectful treatment and return of Aboriginal Ancestral Remains is one of the most sensitive issues for Traditional Owners currently and forms a critical part of the Council’s role.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020