Reforms to Aboriginal heritage protection in New South Wales are “absolutely needed”, says Labor, but neither the opposition or State Government has committed to supporting Fred Nile’s new bill.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (Culture is Identity) Bill 2022, introduced to parliament by the Seniors United Party MP last month, has been hailed by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council as a substantial improvement on current laws.

National Indigenous Times this week asked the government and opposition if they would give in-principle support to the Bill.

New South Wales Aboriginal Affairs minister Ben Franklin said the State Government was working in partnership with Traditional Owners to progress Aboriginal Cultural Heritage reforms.

“Any changes to Aboriginal Cultural Heritage must be aligned with existing legislation and integrate with the existing planning systems,” he said.

Shadow Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty minister David Harris said the Opposition was examining the Bill.

“A change is absolutely needed and we are consulting stakeholders with scenarios and implications,” he said.

“Labor started the consultation back in 2009 as it was recognised that the current regime insufficiently protected Aboriginal Culture and Heritage in New South Wales.”

Mr Harris said the Bill would have to go through their internal processes before finalising a position, including any potential amendments.