Territory Stories

Annual Report 2010-2011 Northern Territory of Australia Aboriginal Areas



Annual Report 2010-2011 Northern Territory of Australia Aboriginal Areas

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Tabled paper 1659


Tabled papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




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Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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OVERVIEW - ABORIGINAL AREAS PROTECTION AUTHORITY - 8 AAPAS ROLE AND VISION THE AUTHORITYS ROLE The protection of Aboriginal sacred sites is recognised by the Northern Territory Government and the broader Territory community as an important element in the preservation of the Territorys cultural heritage for the benefit of all Territorians. The Authority provides the means by which Aboriginal sacred sites are protected through: The registration of Aboriginal sacred sites; Sacred site avoidance surveys (Authority Certificates) through consultation with custodians over development proposals; and The provision of information to the public about sacred site protection. In all circumstances the Authority strives to achieve practical outcomes in its operations by recognising and respecting the interests of site custodians, landowners and developers. THE AUTHORITYS VISION Better protection for sacred sites. Minimising unnecessary controversy over the existence of sacred sites. Better relations between Aboriginal custodians and other Territorians over sacred sites. Everyone knowing more about what they can and cannot do when there are sacred sites nearby. KEY WORK AREAS REGISTRATION OF SACRED SITES Custodians of sacred sites may apply to have their sites registered under Part III Division 2 of the Sacred Sites Act. The Authority will then conduct research into the site to determine the location, extent and traditional significance of the site. Upon registration this information is recorded on the Register of Sacred Sites. The registration process also provides an opportunity for the landowner(s) to discuss practical issues about the site. Prior to considering a request for registration the Authority will invite the landowner(s) to comment about the impact that registration may have on their interests in land. Registration in itself does not confer extra protection on the site, as all sites in the Northern Territory are protected under the Sacred Sites Act. However, registration is relevant to the enforcement of protection of the site in that, under the Sacred Sites Act, the Register of Sacred Sites is accessible to the public (Section 48), and proof of registration shall be accepted by courts as prima facie evidence that a site is a sacred site (Section 45). SITE AVOIDANCE PROCEDURESAUTHORITY CERTIFICATES People proposing to use or work on land in the Northern Territory may apply to the Authority for an Authority Certificate to cover their proposed activities. An Authority Certificate provides a statutory indemnity against prosecution in relation to the works or uses covered by the Certificate provided the applicant complies with any conditions imposed to protect sacred sites. Moreover, the process provides an opportunity for applicants to work together with custodians to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of issues, so that the end result reflects the agreement of all involved. An Authority Certificate provides certainty that the proposed use or work can proceed without

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