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.
What can your council do?
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 Advisor 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 Cultural Heritage Management Planning resources 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 resources and publications
Office of Aboriginal Victoria
Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2018
Report and Protect a possible Aboriginal place or object
Last Updated: December 9, 2019 at 5:16 pm