“Premier Cook’s admission his new cultural heritage laws only reflect what the Voice will do reinforces the community’s fear they are not being told about the repercussions of the proposed constitutional change,” said Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.
Over the weekend, Western Australia’s Premier, Roger Cook, made the startling admission that “our Aboriginal cultural heritage laws do the same thing as the Voice.” To date, proponents of the Voice to Parliament have avoided telling Australians of its consequence at all costs.
The state’s new cultural heritage laws mandate that property owners must obtain permission from local Indigenous authorities before even minor works can occur on their own land if it is slightly larger than a suburban block.
“What is happening in Western Australia is a matter of national significance, and in the Premier’s own words, is a sign of things to come if the proposed Voice to Parliament is permanently enshrined in Australia’s Constitution,” said Mr Wild.
“Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Voice advocates, must end their silence on Western Australia’s divisive reforms and level with Australians on the true scope and impact the Voice to Parliament will have.”
“This new law affects everything from suburban houses on large blocks, prime agricultural land, and vital mining projects, as well as community assets such as local football ovals. Under the laws, these home and property owners must seek permission from government if just 50cm of soil is disturbed.”
The Premier’s admission follows the Mayor of Geraldton, Shane van Styn’s comments that a tree-planting event was shut down due to conflict and confusion caused by the new laws.
“It already appears to be unlawful to plant trees in Western Australian because of these cultural heritage laws. If it’s illegal to simply plant trees, what’s next?” asked Mr Wild.
Previous IPA research established that West Australian farmers were already the most regulated in the nation before the cultural heritage laws came into effect.
“The IPA team met with farmers throughout the Great Southern and South West regions of Western Australian who said they have been “absolutely ambushed” and were “seething” at the cultural heritage laws due to a lack of consultation,” said Mr Wild. “Unfortunately for Australians it seems their experience is a sign of things to come.”
To read the IPA’s research on the regulation of West Australia farmers click here.