Queensland regional manager Cameron Harvey reflects on the importance of evidence-based research and meaningful consultation with stakeholders.
Ever since we began Niche in QLD back in 2012, we have always held firm on the belief that the best decisions and recommendations for our clients and their project needs are informed by evidence, not just opinions. In heritage, this is can be difficult to achieve where a range of inputs and opinions are normally heard and may be equally valid:
- the needs of a client to make their project viable,
- the views of a technical expert, such as an archaeologist or anthropologist who is looking at both tangible and intangible values,
- the knowledge of the Aboriginal Party,
- the reflections of the broader community on what should be considered appropriate.
Evidence-based decision making and meaningful consultation with Aboriginal stakeholders
There are two key tool used in QLD to understand risk of harm to Aboriginal cultural heritage for projects; a Duty of Care assessment, and a cultural heritage management agreement. These tools are most effective when informed by data. Data gathering is typically triggered from the recommendations of the Duty of Care assessment in the form of a field-based assessment. The most effective agreements are those where evidence-based decision making has been used to complete the assessment and inform management planning.
Evidence-based decisions should always be founded on:
- Scientific evidence gathered by suitably qualified and experienced technical experts, to ensure that any physical evidence of Aboriginal occupation (as defined under the Act) that does exist or may (potentially) survive in a project area is identified, assessed properly and is thus available to inform upcoming project decisions; and
- Meaningful consultation with Aboriginal stakeholders including meetings with knowledge holders for the specific area under consideration, and their participation in the on-ground identification and input into the wholistic assessment of the significance of any heritage values identified.
Independent assessment and advice
A key point of difference between Niche in QLD and other local cultural heritage management providers is that we offer independent assessment and advice to clients on our Aboriginal cultural heritage services.
“Our role is to provide that scientific evidence, by using only suitably qualified and experienced practitioners.”
Our role is to provide that scientific evidence, by using only suitably qualified and experienced practitioners. At Niche we are focused on our clients’ needs and meeting their aspirations for managing Aboriginal cultural heritage in a legally compliant, yet positive and meaningful way for all involved.
We also seek to work with clients and cultural heritage lawyers to explore innovative approaches to the management of Aboriginal heritage issues, and we look for ways to include clever and meaningful management actions in CHMPs and other agreements.
To find out more about how Niche can support your project, contact us.
Read more about our heritage services and projects in Queensland
Cultural heritage management services
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Meet our Queensland team
Niche’s multidisciplinary consulting team operates throughout the state from our Queensland head office in Brisbane, FNQ office in Cairns, and additional hub on the Gold Coast.
The growing team includes 11 heritage specialists, and an environmental team of five, supported by in-house GIS consultants. You can find more about some of our consultants below…
Would you like to join our team?
Due to a strong pipeline of interesting work for great clients, Niche is currently recruiting in Queensland and NSW.
To find out more about current opportunities to join our team and – the many great employee benefits we offer – visit our Careers page.