Information for planners and developers
The endurance of Aboriginal society across Australia is of global significance and the cultural heritage places and objects associated with Aboriginal society are a significant part of the heritage of all Australians. More importantly, they are a fundamental part of Aboriginal community life and cultural identity. To learn more read Aboriginal Cultural Heritage is important to all Victorians.
The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (the Act) and Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2007 (the Regulations) provides for the protection and management of Victoria’s Aboriginal heritage with processes linked to the Victorian planning system. The legislation provides protection for all Aboriginal places, objects and human remains regardless of their inclusion on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register or whether they are located on public or private land.
The Act also provides clear guidance to planners and developers about when, and how, Aboriginal cultural heritage needs to be considered, and in some situations work cannot proceed until compliance is met. Large developments and other high impact activities in culturally sensitive landscapes can cause significant harm to Aboriginal cultural heritage. In these situations the Act may require the preparation of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan or the planner or developer may need to obtain a cultural heritage permit.
Cultural Heritage Management PlansCultural Heritage Management Plans (The Plan) are a way of protecting and managing Aboriginal cultural heritage, with the involvement of Registered Aboriginal Parties, while allowing development to proceed.
Some activities which will require a Cultural Heritage Management Plan are:
- developments that require an Environment Effects Statement.
- larger scale residential or industrial subdivisions on areas of cultural heritage sensitivity, which have not previously been significantly disturbed. Please see Practice Note: Significant Ground Disturbance (PDF 95 KB) or (Word 442 KB) for guidance about the meaning of significant ground disturbance and how it relates to Cultural Heritage Management Plans.
- substantial infrastructure or resource development projects on areas of cultural heritage sensitivity, which have not previously been significantly disturbed.
Aboriginal Heritage Planning ToolA simple way to check whether a Cultural Heritage Management Plan is required for a proposed activity is to use the Aboriginal heritage planning tool and follow the prompts.
See also Cultural Heritage Management Plans and When will a Cultural Heritage Management Plan be required?
Aboriginal places or objects on private or public propertyThe Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 requires that the discovery of Aboriginal cultural heritage places or objects on any public or private land in Victoria be reported to the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria. Landowners who believe they may have found an Aboriginal place or object on their land can find out what to do by visiting the page Reporting a possible Aboriginal place or object.
If suspected human remains are discovered, you must contact the Victoria Police and the State Coroner’s Office immediately. If there are reasonable grounds to believe that the remains are Aboriginal, the State Control Centre (which coordinates the State government's response to emergency matters) should be contacted on 1300 888 544.
Read the Exploration Licence Advisory Note (PDF 169 KB) to learn the obligations for exploration license holders when undertaking works.
Read the Geotechnical Investigations Advisory Note (PDF 78 KB) or (Word 106 KB) to learn about what to consider when undertaking geotechnical investigations.