Establishment of Recognised Aboriginal Representative Bodies is a key part of the changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (AHA) which was proclaimed on 17 October 2017

Amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (AHA) introduce Recognised Aboriginal Representative Bodies (RARBs) to speak for Aboriginal heritage across South Australia.

APY and MT were granted RARB status at proclamation.

A RARB is an incorporated body that can enter into local heritage agreements with proponents to manage impacts on Aboriginal heritage.  A RARB must be able to demonstrate that it can ascertain and represent the views of the relevant traditional owners in relation to the Aboriginal heritage within the RARB’s area of responsibility.

RARB appointments are approved by the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee, and may be for:

  • a specified area of land
  • a specified Aboriginal site or sites
  • a specified Aboriginal object or objects
  • specified Aboriginal remains.

A RARB may enter into local heritage agreements with land use proponents so that impacts to Aboriginal heritage are managed in culturally appropriate ways and in agreement with the traditional owners.

A local heritage agreement is an agreement under the Act between a land use proponent and a RARB that deals with the impact of the proponent’s activities on any Aboriginal heritage in the area covered by the agreement.

A local heritage agreement is submitted to the Premier, as the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation who may, if satisfied that the agreement satisfactorily deals with any heritage that may be in the relevant area, approve the agreement. Once approved, the Premier must grant an authorisation to the proponent to excavate the land or to damage, disturb or interfere with any objects or the remains on the condition that the proponent complies with the agreement. For more information about Local Heritage Agreements, see the Aboriginal Heritage Guideline 3 Local Heritage Agreements.

The State Aboriginal Heritage Committee may revoke or suspend the appointment of a RARB* if:

  • the RARB is no longer able to ascertain and represent the views and knowledge of the traditional owners of the relevant area, site, object or remains
  • the RARB has failed or refused, or is likely to fail or refuse, to perform a function under the Act
  • the RARB has acted in a manner that is, in the Committee’s opinion, at variance with the objects of the Act.

* Only applies to RARBs appointed under sections 19B(9) and (10) of the AHA.

The Premier can revoke the appointment of a RARB for any reason he or she thinks fit and must consult with the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee before doing so.

Apply to become a Recognised Aboriginal Representative Body

Applications to become a RARB are made to the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee (SAHC).

Registered Native Title Body Corporates (RNTBCs) are taken to be the RARB in respect of the relevant native title determination area, including areas where native title has been extinguished or suppressed. However, in their application the RNTBC must address issues of heritage management and their ability to consult with all Traditional Owners of the heritage within the RABS boundary. The appointment must be approved by the SAHC. RNTBCs may  elect not to be appointed as the RARB for their native title determination area, but will need to formally submit this decision to the SAHC.

RNTBC RARB Application form (123 KB, PDF)

RNTBC Election not to be RARB (91 KB, PDF)

In areas outside of the APY and MT Lands and where a RNTBC is not taken to be the RARB, any person or body will be able to apply to be the RARB. This includes:

  • the relevant native title claimants (or specified members) for an area
  • an Aboriginal party (or specified members) for an area subject to an indigenous land use agreement (ILUA)
  • a person or body for a specified area, other than where a RARB is already taken to be in place.

General RARB Application form (131 KB, PDF)

From July 2018, online submission of a RARB application will be available through Taa wika, a new DPC-AAR Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Register and Information Management System.​

Contact a RARB

Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY)

APY is established under the Act as the RARB for the APY Lands as defined by the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981


Mr Frank Young
Chairperson APY Executive
c/- PMB 227 Umuwa Via ALICE SPRINGS NT 872
Telephone: 08 8956 2868

Maralinga Tjarutja (MT)

MT is established under the Act as the RARB for the MT Lands as defined by the Maralinga Tjarutja Land Rights Act 1984.


Mr Jeremy LeBois
Chairperson Maralinga Tjarutja
43 McKenzie Street
CEDUNA  SA  5690
Telephone: 08 8625 2946

For more information phone (08) 8226 8900 or email