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aboriginalvictoria.vic.gov.au

Cultural Heritage Permits

How to apply for a permit and check if you'll need one

When do I need a Cultural Heritage Permit?

You need to apply for this permit if you are planning to:

  • disturb or excavate land to uncover or discover Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • rehabilitate land at an Aboriginal place
  • inter Aboriginal ancestral remains at an Aboriginal place
  • carry out research on an Aboriginal place
  • carry out an activity that will, or is likely to, harm Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • sell an Aboriginal object (where it was not made for the purpose of sale)
  • remove an Aboriginal cultural heritage object from Victoria

You need a cultural heritage permit for these activities even if you don't require a Cultural Heritage Management Plan. 

How do I apply for this permit?

You must apply to the Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) for the area the application is in. If there's no RAP, the application must be made to the Secretary to the Department of Premier and Cabinet. 

Use the online map to find where Registered Aboriginal Parties are located in Victoria.

Applications for Cultural Heritage Permits must be made using the completed form and accompanied with the prescribed fee if there is one:

Aboriginal Victoria has also developed guidelines to assist a proponent prepare an application for a permit:

Find a Heritage Advisor

A Heritage Advisor can be engaged to assist in drafting an application for a Cultural Heritage Permit. 

Apply to transfer a Cultural Heritage Permit

The permit holder may transfer a Cultural Heritage Permit to another person using this form:

How do I know if it's an Aboriginal place or object?

Apply for advice

You can check if your activity impacts on an Aboriginal cultural heritage place or object with an application for advice.

When you apply online include an email address. You will be emailed a reference number for your submitted application. Once approved, the Aboriginal Heritage Certificate will be emailed.

This must be accompanied by a fee paid by credit card or direct debit.

Timing

The application will take at least 10 business days. A priority processing fee can be paid to fast track the application within 2 to 3 business days. 

Details of advice

You will receive a certificate of advice, otherwise known as the Aboriginal Heritage Certificate.

This certificate tells you whether any Aboriginal cultural heritage places or objects are located on the land, or if it falls within an area of Aboriginal cultural heritage sensitivity. If you intend to make changes to the land, then you may need to complete a Cultural Heritage Management Plan.

If any Aboriginal cultural heritage places or objects are registered on the land, the certificate will be accompanied by a listing of those registrations.

Details will include:

  • the register number
  • name of place and indication of the type of heritage involved

What happens if I complete the activities without a permit?

Under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 you need to apply for a cultural heritage permit to engage in any of the activities listed above. 

Authorised Officers and Aboriginal Heritage Officers can check the conditions of a Cultural Heritage Permit have been met and can issue a stop order if compliance is not occurring.

Forms and resources

Guidelines for conducting and reporting on Aboriginal cultural heritage investigations (other than cultural heritage management plans)

Open Letter to Heritage Advisors - Applications for cultural heritage permits to disturb or excavate

Reviewed 27 October 2019

Aboriginal Victoria

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