What you need to know
If you are developing in the Lake Macquarie Local Government Area, you may be asked to undertake an Aboriginal Due Diligence Assessment (or Aboriginal Heritage Impact Assessment)* along with your other Development Application (DA) supporting documents.
Why, you ask?
Let’s just imagine for a moment - relaxing by the lake, catching a cool breeze on a summer day or being enamored by the enveloping stillness of the water reflective as a glass top in winter. You are in the prime location for fishing and boating on the lake. Just as it is today, the Lake Macquarie foreshore was a prime location for Aboriginal habitation in the past. As such, there is sometimes still evidence for Aboriginal sites along the foreshore and other areas.
What determines whether I will be asked for an Aboriginal heritage assessment?
Lake Macquarie has an Aboriginal Heritage Management Strategy which outlines the requirement for an Aboriginal Due Diligence Assessment if your land is within a sensitive zone (part of a Sensitive Aboriginal Cultural Landscape). The Sensitive Aboriginal Cultural Landscapes generally include the lake foreshore, as well as areas in close proximity to creeks, but it may include other areas. When you submit your pre-DA documentation the Council will let you know if an Aboriginal Due Diligence Assessment is required.
What are the next steps?
You will need a heritage consultant to complete the Aboriginal Due Diligence Assessment. You will need to let them know the property address for them to prepare a quote. They may also ask for a brief outline of the proposed development and your preliminary drawings.
Your Aboriginal Due Diligence Assessment will generally include: background heritage information, a database search on the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System, a physical inspection of the property and production of a report. Depending on the consultancy it may take 1-4 weeks to produce the report.
*Note: An Aboriginal Heritage Impact Assessment is an older term used for what we now call an Aboriginal Due Diligence Assessment.