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Labor’s heritage reforms a risk for property owners

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton inspecting a property at Toongi near Dubbo. Photo supplied

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton is warning that Labor’s Aboriginal heritage reforms could undermine private property rights and force property owners in the electorate of Parkes to undergo expensive mandatory cultural surveys for basic activities such as mending fences or planting trees.

It comes after the Federal Government has refused to rule out that it will introduce heritage laws like Western Australia’s new Cultural Heritage Act – which impacts all of those who own blocks of more than 1100 square metres.

It even requires landowners to obtain cultural surveys for digging a hole more than 50 centimetres deep or lifting more than 20 kilograms of dirt.

In WA, penalties now range from $25,000 to $1 million for individuals, and from $250,000 to $10 million for corporations, as well as gaol time.

Mr Coulton said Western Australia’s new laws were a gross overreach but could soon be seen in the Parkes electorate.

Mr Coulton said Labor’s proposed laws could also have the power to cancel or change future developments in the Parkes electorate. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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