The Aboriginal Relics Amendment Bill 2017

​​​​Call for nominations to new statutory Aboriginal Heritage Council​

Significant amendments to the Aboriginal Relics Act 1975 have been approved by both Houses of the Tasmanian Parliament. They include the establishment of a new statutory body, the Aboriginal Heritage Council. It will replace a non-statutory body of the same name. The Government intends to appoint the Council before commencement of the amendment legislation. 

Nominations for membership are invited from Aboriginal persons, outlining briefly their experience and capacity to contribute to carrying out the Council’s statutory functions. 

In recommending members to the Governor, the Minister will also consider the regional and gender balance of the Council, and balanced representation of organisations. Evidence on these matters should be included in the nominations. 

Information for ​​no​​minees

An information​ sheet describing the Council's role, what is expected of members, and the appointment process is available below.

Submitting y​​o​​ur nomination

Nominations are to be emailed to​

Nominations close on 30 June 2017.

Further information​

​Queries relating to the nomination process:


Phone: (03) 6165 3154

Background: A​​boriginal Relics Amendment Bill​

The Aboriginal Relics Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced to the Parliament on 15 March 2017. The  Aboriginal Relics (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2017 was also introduced. This short Bill simply amends references to the Act in other legislation so they cite​ the new name, the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

Introduction of the Bills followed extensive consultation that included a public consultation process in June-July 2016 and release for comment of a draft exposure Bill, from 30 November 2016 to 24 February 2017. During February 2017 there was a further round of direct consultation with Aboriginal community organisations and industry stakeholders. 

The Bills passed the House of Assembly on 6 April. Debate in the Legislative Council led to the insertion of one minor amendment and both Bills concluded their passage through Parliament on 1 June. 

The Bills are expected to come into force in August 2017. 

What is amended?

The priority is to address areas of immediate concern in the Aboriginal Relics Act 1975 while committing to undertake a full review of the amended Act in three years, with a view to its replacement by all-new legislation.

The amendments address a number of inadequacies in the existing legislation, including by:
  • changing the name of the Act to the “Aboriginal Heritage Act"; 
  • removing reference to 1876 as being a “cut-off" point for what is considered as Aboriginal heritage (still referred to as “relics" in the Act); 
  • increasing penalties for damage to Aboriginal heritage to be in line with the penalties for damage to non-Aboriginal heritage; 
  • introducing tiered offences, in association with the removal of the ignorance defence; introducing new defences related to emergency responses and compliance with guidelines; and removing the six-month time limit for prosecuting offences;
  • establishing a statutory Aboriginal Heritage Council of Aboriginal people to advise the Minister; and
  • setting a statutory three-year deadline for a full review of the Act.  

​Relevant documents

The Bills were accompanied by a package of supporting material.

In addition, a copy of the draft Guidelines was made available to help inform the debate in the Parliament.

Aboriginal Relics Amendment Bill 2017

Aboriginal Relics (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2017

  Aboriginal Heritage Legislation Draft Guidelines 2017   (325Kb)


Implementation of Amendments to the Aboriginal Relics Act
Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania, Natural and Cultural Heritage Division
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
GPO Box 44 Hobart TAS 7001