Self-determination by Indigenous people over culturally significant sites could soon become a reality as members of the NSW parliament commit to creating an oversight body.
A group of MPs stretching across party lines has committed to passing a bill in the next political term, to create an Aboriginal cultural heritage council to rule on whether culturally significant sites, objects or remains can be altered, damaged or destroyed.
The bill was introduced to the parliament earlier this year by conservative Christian MP Fred Nile, who said it was needed to protect against events like the destruction of the sacred rock caves in Juukan Gorge by Rio Tinto.
The bill will not be passed in this term of parliament, before Mr Nile, 88, retires at the March election.
"The bill is alive and well, and will be passed in due course - if not sooner," Mr Nile told reporters on Wednesday.
"One of the big differences in the discussion on my bill ... is to take seriously the views of the Aboriginal people," he said.
"They're not just window dressing.
"They're central in all that I do in this area."
Independent MP Alex Greenwich said an inquiry held into the bill recommended further amendments and consultation before new laws were finalised.
"We have secured support from both the Labor opposition and coalition government to progress with the legislation in the next term of parliament," Mr Greenwich said.
Indigenous people needed to be consulted about future developments, NSW Aboriginal Land Council member Anne Dennis told reporters on Wednesday.
"We need to be able to protect what's left of Aboriginal culture and heritage on the ground," Ms Dennis said.
"We would not want to see another Juukan Gorge where it was just blown up and destroyed without that consultation, without that significant protection."
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Franklin said there was an urgent need to protect the state's Aboriginal cultural heritage sites and he was committed to having the legislation introduced as "quickly as possible" during parliament's next term.
"At present the protection and management of Aboriginal cultural heritage in this state is primarily administered under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, and that is profoundly wrong in and of itself," he said on Tuesday.
The bill would need to respect cultural sensitivities and work in line with the technical state planning and heritage scaffolding already in place in NSW, he added.
"At the end of the day, we know that Aboriginal cultural heritage belongs to Aboriginal people."