Toolkit sets standard

Shellharbour City Council Aboriginal community liaison officer Veronica Bird and Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba with the award-winning Aboriginal Culture and Heritage Development Application Toolkit. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

Shellharbour City Council Aboriginal community liaison officer Veronica Bird and Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba with the award-winning Aboriginal Culture and Heritage Development Application Toolkit. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

SHELLHARBOUR City Council's efforts to protect Aboriginal history and culture have again been acknowledged, with the council awarded the 2014 Local Government Arts and Culture Award for Cultural Planning and Policy last month.

The council won the award for its Aboriginal Culture and Heritage Development Assessment Toolkit, which provides developers with protocols to follow to protect Aboriginal artefacts and culturally significant places during construction.

Presented by Local Government NSW, the Local Government Arts and Culture Awards have recognised the best Local Government cultural initiatives across NSW since 2003, and Shellharbour City Mayor Marianne Saliba said the award could not have come at a better time.

"It is fitting that this award would be delivered during Reconciliation Week, as a reminder of the steps we are taking to improve processes and increase cultural awareness at the ground level of government," she said.

"This toolkit works to highlight the importance of Aboriginal culture and heritage in council's development processes and at this young age, is already setting a benchmark for others to apply."

After only being adopted by Shellharbour City Council last year the toolkit, developed in conjunction with Kiama and Wollongong Councils and the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, has already been acknowledged by a number of different agencies.

It received the 2013 NSW Planning Award for Excellence and was commended at both the 2013 NSW National Trust Heritage Awards (Research and Investigation/Analysis category) and the 2013 Planning Institute of Australia's National Planning Award (Improving Planning Processes and Practices category).

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