19 March

WA Governments administration of Aboriginal wills and estates

The board of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre (KALACC) passed a resolution last week urging the Government of Western Australia to act to repeal those provisions of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act of 1972 which discriminate against Aboriginal people. When an Aboriginal person passes away without a will in Western Australia, their estate can only be administered by the Public Trustee in contrast to the estates of non-Aboriginal people. The Board’s resolution stated: “We regard this provision to be discriminatory and anachronistic and to have no place in modern society in the year 2012.”  This issue was first highlighted in the September 2006 Report of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia. Wes Morris of KALACC observed that “the issue of course impacts particularly on Aboriginal visual arts centres and affects the families of those artists who do not have wills.”