Since 2012 the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) has been working with the National Broadband Network Company (NBNCo) to provide sacred site clearance for NBNCo infrastructure in towns and regions of the Northern Territory. In 2014-2015 the AAPA completed the issuing of Authority Certificates for the NBN Project over the townships of Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Nhulunbuy and parts of Darwin.
Throughout the year AAPA staff met regularly with NBNCo to provide general sacred site advice and discuss in detail certificate conditions to ensure that all parties involved were aligned in their understanding and interpretation of certificates. This resulted in a successful working collaboration between the AAPA and NBNCo. The research work undertaken for the NBN rollout has also enabled the AAPA to bring its records in these areas up to date and provide an ongoing benefit to the AAPA for future projects in town locations.
In February 2016 the AAPA delivered another ‘Sacred Sites Workplace Induction’ also known as a ‘Toolbox Talk’ to new NBNCo staff. These talks outline the cultural significance of sacred sites and their protection by the AAPA as legislated by the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act. These talks have been very successful and help guide NBNCo staff in their work around sacred sites. The Toolbox Talks has also proven to be a great forum for staff of NBNCo to seek clarification on anything from sacred sites to who to contact if they encounter archaeological sites or skeletal remains during works.