Australian regional government repeals Indigenous protections laws

Australian regional government repeals Indigenous protections laws

‘I understand that the legislation has unintentionally caused stress, confusion, and division,’ says Premier Roger Cook

By Anadolu staff

ISTANBUL (AA) - The government of Western Australia (WA) on Tuesday repealed a set of modernized Indigenous cultural heritage laws, calling them too prescriptive, too complicated, and too burdensome on landowners.

“I understand that the legislation has unintentionally caused stress, confusion, and division in the community and for that I am sorry,” Premier Roger Cook told reporters — just five weeks after the legislation was introduced, local broadcaster ABC News reported.

The 2021 legislation will now be replaced with the original 1972 laws with some key amendments.

The Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Aboriginal Corporation, a group that administers the traditional lands and waters of Indigenous people, released a statement after the news conference, saying: "First Nations people are being treated as second class citizens in their own Country."

The purpose of the laws was “achieving equity in the relationship between Aboriginal people, industry, and government.”

Cook denied claims that the repeal aimed to disrupt an upcoming vote on Indigenous legislative rights, known as the Voice referendum, and stressed that Western Australia had come under no pressure from the federal government in making this decision.

Sometime between October and December this year, Australians are expected to vote in a historic referendum to decide whether the country’s marginalized Indigenous communities should have a say in Parliament.

In March, the federal government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese introduced a bill for a vote to recognize the Indigenous people in the constitution and set up the “Voice to Parliament.”

The draft constitutional amendment was passed on June 19, clearing the way for a vote to form an Indigenous body that would advise on legislation and policy affecting Aboriginal people and people of Torres Strait Islands that are mostly a part of Queensland state in Australia.

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