Government Applications

Anthropologists have a key role to play in a number of asessment processes where developers present proposals to government for approval.

Anthropologists are crucial to the lodgement of an application seeking the consent of the Minister of Indigenous Affairs to use, for any purpose, the land upon which Aboriginal sites may exist. This application is commonly called a "section 18" under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972.

Anthropologists are also crucial for the resolution of native title issues which are neccesary for the grants of tenure for either exploration or mining leases under the Mining Act 1978. Anthropologists often play an important part in the conduct of heritage surveys under the auspices of Regional Standard Heritage Agreements.

The Environmental Protection Act 1986 is an act to protect the environment and to preven, control and abate pollution and environmental harm. The Environmental Protection Authority issues guidance statements to assist proponents, consultants and the public to gain additional information about the way in which the EPA considers matters placed before it and more generally, the environmental assessment process. The EPA has issued Guidance Statement No. 41 in regard to the assessment of Aboriginal heritage within the environmental assessment process. The EPA considers Aboriginal heritage as a relevant environmental factor in circumstances where the heritage values are linked directly to the physical and biological attributes of the environment, and when the protection and management of those attributes are threatened as a result of a proposed development.

Planning the critical path through the government approvals process is crucial to the success or failure of projects. Where consultation with Aboriginal people and communities is required, anthropologists are an important part in the outcome of the overall process.