SANTS News – September 2023

Monthly native title updates

Information about the Voice Referendum

The Voice Referendum will be held on Saturday, 14 October 2023. However, voting is already open in some regional and remote areas in South Australia (refer to the dates below).

Before you head to the polls, consider these facts about the Voice to Parliament: 

  • The Voice is an update to the constitution to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are listened to when parliament discusses policies that affect their communities.
  • The Voice was designed over decades and agreed on in 2017 by more than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders nominated by their communities.
  • It will be an advisory committee of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across the country with diverse backgrounds, ages and ideas.
  • The government will still be responsible for all laws, programs and funding.
  • Putting the Voice in the constitution means it can always be improved, but never thrown away.

Polling places and opening times

Postal voting

Postal voting is available for anyone not able to make it to vote in-person, either on voting day or during the early voting period.

Postal vote applications will close at 6pm on Wednesday, 11 October 2023.

Click here for more info and to apply for a postal vote.

PBC & Native Title Forum

Last month, we held a two-day PBC and Native Title Forum attended by directors and members of native title groups from across the state.

Discussion on day one included the Landscape Act, the South Australian Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation Network (SAACCON), Closing the Gap, and the next steps for PBCs and native title groups.

The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, also joined a session about the referendum and Voice to Parliament. Most attendees fully supported the Voice and appreciated an opportunity to ask questions directly to the minister. 

On day two, Country Needs People spoke about their advocacy for Aboriginal rangers in SA, the National Native Title Council provided an update on cultural heritage and native title matters, and the Attorney General and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Kyam Maher MLC, discussed the SA Voice and local issues affecting Traditional Owners.

Attendees decided on four key priorities for SANTS and native title groups moving forward: cultural heritage, renewable energy, children and young people, and PBC development. We look forward to continuing our work together to create positive change in these areas.

Click here to have your say on the operation and effectiveness of the Landscape Act 2019.

Sacred site damaged on Adnyamathanha land

Adnyamathanha people are devastated after unauthorised earthworks destroyed a sacred site in the Flinders Ranges.

Culturally significant Adnyamathanha sandhills were destroyed during construction of a fence line on the boundary of Beltana Station and the Nilpena Ediacara National Park in South Australia’s mid north.

On August 30, the Department for Environment and Water wrote to the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) seeking advice on whether a cultural assessment was required on the stretch of land.

But four days later, before the consultation process had been completed, the department discovered a private contractor had already begun digging holes on the site and ordered works to stop.

The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) said they will take legal action against the department for the destruction caused.

Read more via SBS