Victory for people power as controversial Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act is repealed 

Following months of tireless persistence from communities across the state, Western Australia is waking up to the news that the Governor is set to repeal the Cook Labor Government’s botched Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (ACH) Act, today.

Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Nationals WA Shane Love said this result is a testament to the power of the people in triumphing over the arrogant Cook Labor Government.

“After four months since the announcement that the ACH Act would be repealed, the wait for Western Australia is finally over,” Mr Love said.

“When questions were raised early, Labor deflected and used offensive language such as likening opponents as ‘dogs returning to their vomit’ and telling them “For God’s sake; get on the right side of history”. Today, history gets a fresh coat of truth.

“The day Roger Cook pulled a spectacular backflip and announced the repeal of the controversial legislation will go down in history as the day the Labor Government finally admitted they were on the wrong side of history. Persistence pays off, and so does setting the record straight.

“Labor expected Western Australia to get on board with their agenda, but as it turns out, you cannot rush legislation without consultation and expect people to roll over.”

Shadow Planning Minister Neil Thomson, who led the debate in the Legislative Council, said this great outcome was a direct result of people power in action.

“This is a victory for common sense and people power, and I want to thank the almost 30,000 Western Australians that signed our petition calling on the Cook Labor Government to reconsider this legislation,” Shadow Planning Minister Neil Thomson said.

“The Labor Party arrogantly refused to listen to the loud chorus of concern raised before this over-prescriptive legislation was rammed through Parliament and it was thanks to the community that they were forced to backflip on it.

“It again points to the importance of Western Australians being engaged for the sake of our future and refusing to lie down when government makes poor decisions.”

WA Liberal Leader Libby Mettam said today was a welcome end to an appalling chapter in the Cook Labor Government’s flawed and ill-considered legislation.

“The whole process from beginning to end was yet another example of the contempt with which this Labor Government treats Western Australians.

“To gag debate and ram through laws which would have such wide-reaching and arduous implications for landholders and businesses without even having the proper processes in place beforehand points to a government that does not know how to govern.

“Instead of listening to the people, the Premier resorted to racist slurs, referring to the Opposition as dogs returning to their vomit for raising concerns.

“It was a disrespectful and absolutely appalling display of leadership from a government that believed it could arrogantly push this legislation through without any repercussions.

“The Cook Labor Government had to be dragged kicking and screaming to repeal this legislation and I also want to thank Western Australians for standing up with the Opposition to call this government to account.”

Aboriginal Affairs Shadow Minister Mia Davies said the legislation took six years to develop but in all that time there was no proper consultation with the broader public, which led to it being dumped a mere six weeks after implementation.

“How much did this dreadful debacle cost the West Australian taxpayer?” Ms Davies asked.

“It’s time for our tired and arrogant Premier to stop making policy on the run and engage in
genuine consultation with West Australians.

“It is now incumbent on the Labor Government to ensure the amended 1972 legislation works effectively and is explained thoroughly to the people of WA.