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State of Victoria's Aboriginal and Cultural Heritage Report 2016-2021

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

Researched and written by Anika Valenti, Dr Terri Janke, Laura Curtis, Samantha McNeil with assistance from Adam Broughton and Annabelle Burgess.

Every 5 years the Aboriginal Heritage Act (2006) in Victoria requires a report on the State of Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. This is the first report developed by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council.

Click here to view the report.

Anika Valenti (Senior Solicitor), Dr Terri Janke (Solicitor Director), Laura Curtis (Solicitor), and Samantha McNeil (Solicitor) undertook the consultations, research and drafting of this report. Adam Broughton (Paralegal), Annabelle Burgess (Solicitor) and Benjamin McGrory (Intern) assisted with research, drafting and cases studies, and Kevin Anderson (Office Manager) provided IT support.

The report critically assesses the current state of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Victoria and provides recommendations moving forward.

Part 1 has looked at the ways Aboriginal peoples in Victoria connect with their Cultural Heritage. It describes why and how it is crucial for Aboriginal peoples to be enabled to care for Country.

Part 2 assesses the enablers and stressors on how Victorian Aboriginal peoples connect to, and practice, Culture; in particular the impact of policies and management actions by the government and private sectors.

In assessing the current state of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Victoria, the community has developed a vision for a future Victoria as a place where

  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage has no barriers;

  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage is holistic;

  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage is Aboriginal-led and decisions are made by Aboriginal people;

  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage supports economic prosperity;

  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage is better understood and respected by all Victorians.

To realise this vision, 30 recommendations have been made and are outlined in this report.

Terri Janke and Company would like to acknowledge the input of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council, the State of Victoria’s Aboriginal Heritage Subcommittee and the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council staff who have guided the development of this report, and provided their time, resources and expertise. Terri Janke and Company would like to thank the Registered Aboriginal Party representatives who attended the first consultation for this report.

We would like to sincerely thank all the people and organisations who attended the online and in-person consultations, provided feedback to the Taking Care of Culture Discussion Paper, and engaged in individual consultations with us. We would also like to thank all the Aboriginal peoples who provided expertise and knowledge to contribute to this report.

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