Protect Cultural Heritage

Why is this important?

Aboriginal cultural heritage values must be considered when planning major developments and other high impact activities in culturally sensitive areas.  The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2018 provides for steps that must be taken to avoid or minimise the impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage. In these situations the Act may require the preparation of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) or the planner or developer may need to obtain a Cultural Heritage Permit (CHP).

Developers must consult with Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) or the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (VAHC) and seek their approval of the CHMP. In some instances, councils themselves will be acting as a developer (e.g. building roads, public spaces etc.) and may also be required to prepare a CHMP or obtain a CHP. 

Importantly, councils cannot issue any statutory approval, such as a planning permit, without an approved CHMP where one is required, and councils must ensure that permit approvals align with recommendations of the CHMP.

Accordingly, local government has a substantial role in protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage.

See more information at Aboriginal Victoria’s Protection of Aboriginal Places and Objects.


What can your council do?

Councils have statutory obligations under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2018.

In addition to meeting these obligations, councils can also:

  • Ensure planning staff maintain their skills in cultural heritage, including by participating in professional learning and development opportunities such as those offered through PLANET (Planning Network)
  • Ensure local developers are informed about requirements of the Act and Regulations and information is shared on Council’s website.
  • Contact a Heritage Adviser to conduct cultural heritage audits or carry out rehabilitation works to protect culturally sensitive areas on council-owned land.
  • Use  strategic planning tools such as the Aboriginal Heritage Planning Tool to protect places of significant Aboriginal cultural heritage.
  • Work with Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) or engage the Victorian Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council to actively protect significant Aboriginal cultural heritage in the municipality.
  • Share and promote Aboriginal Victoria’s Heritage Tools and Publications


Useful Links

Office of Aboriginal Victoria

Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006

Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2018

Report and Protect a possible Aboriginal place or object


Last Updated: October 9, 2018 at 6:31 pm


Moonee Valley City Council

Babepal Paen-mirring Ceremonial Rock Circle

The Babepal Paen-mirring Ceremonial Rock Circle was developed at Five Mile Creek Reserve, Essendon to recognise a registered site of Aboriginal significance and protect artefacts scattered at the site.

Moonee Valley City Council engaged the Wurundjeri Land Council and the Wurundjeri Narrap team who suggested establishing the site as a meeting place for the use of the whole community. The site was named Babepal Paen-mirring, meaning ‘Mother’s tear’ in Woi wurrung, with large rocks placed in the shape of an eye.

As part of the restoration of the site, native plants including Lomandra, Dianella, Murnong and native grasses were reintroduced to provide future opportunities for activities including weaving, harvesting traditional foods of the area, and indigenous burning.

The site is an important part of a broader approach to educate the community about the significance of this area to the Wurundjeri People, and hold ceremonies and demonstrations of Wurundjeri life.



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