Recent changes to Victorian Aboriginal Heritage legislation

yan-yean-road-complex-assessmentThe Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Regulations (the Amendment Regulations) commenced on 2 August 2016. The Amendment Regulations see a number of significant changes concerning the ways in which Aboriginal heritage is managed in Victoria. A number of these changes are especially relevant to our clients.

Determining when a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) is required

Sponsors are responsible for exercising due diligence in determining their requirements under the Aboriginal Heritage Act and the Regulations when planning a development. A due diligence assessment may be prepared by a Heritage Advisor to establish whether a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) is required for a proposed activity. The relevant council will take the conclusions of the due diligence assessment into account when making a decision about whether statutory authorisation can be made.

A new Preliminary Aboriginal Heritage Test (PAHT) may now be prepared by a Heritage Advisor where a sponsor is unsure about their legislative requirements. A PAHT is voluntary, and need only be undertaken where it is unclear as to whether a CHMP is required for a proposed activity. A PAHT is submitted to Aboriginal Victoria for certification, providing certainty as to whether or not a CHMP is required.

Changes to CHMPs

The Amendment Regulations make a number of regulatory changes including:

  • Removal of the requirement to prepare a CHMP for the construction of three or more dwellings on, or the subdivision of, land that is less than 0.11 hectares and not located with 200 m of the coastal waters of Victoria or the Murray River.
  • Minor amendments can now be made to previously approved CHMPs in certain circumstances, which may be re-evaluated by a RAP or Aboriginal Victoria in the same way as a new CHMP and approved within 14 days of submission.

 New fees for heritage assessments

Aboriginal Victoria has introduced new fees for:

  • Submission of a Notice of Intent to undertake a CHMP
  • Evaluation of a CHMP
  • Accessing the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Information System (ACHRIS)
  • Submission of a Preliminary Aboriginal Heritage Test
  • Submission of a CHMP amendment

A list of these new fees is available here: http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/index.php/aboriginal-affairs/aboriginal-cultural-heritage/fees-and-penalties

Contact us for more information

For more information about these and other legislative changes and advice about how they might affect your development project, contact us now on 03 9386 4770 or info@vincentclark.com.au