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Indigenous Heritage

Byron Shire Council recognises the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Arakwal people as Traditional Owners and custodians for parts of the Byron Shire.  Protection and preservation of cultural heritage and the broader environment is very important to the Bundjalung Arakwal people and to people of the wider Bundjalung nation.  Byron Shire Council (in its role as land manager) is committed to working with Aboriginal custodians within the Shire to protect places of cultural significance.

The Indigenous Land Use Agreements and other negotiated agreements provide for the protection and management of Aboriginal cultural and heritage areas by the Bundjalung Arakwal people, eg Arakwal National Park.  The Memorandum of Understanding ensures that Council will work in partnership with the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Arakwal People to ensure preservation of cultural practices, traditional sites, significant places and expressions of cultural identity.  The Traditional Owners conduct cultural, eco-tourism and educational programs thus providing an important cross-cultural exchange between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people.

A number of significant places are described on the Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal) website:

In NSW the principle laws which deal with Aboriginal heritage are:

  • National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
  • Heritage Act 1977
  • Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
  • Aboriginal Lands Right Act 1983

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage administers some of the legislation which ensures the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage: