There are specific Commonwealth and State legislation designed to protect significant heritage places, including natural, built and cultural environments.
Two lists of significant heritage places are maintained under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act):
- National Heritage List - places of national heritage significance (such as Port Arthur); and
- Commonwealth Heritage List - heritage places managed by the Commonwealth (such as Parliament House).
Developers need to seek approval under the EPBC Act for any development activity that is likely to have a significant impact on the heritage values of listed places. Commonwealth agencies are also required to develop and implement management plans for heritage places under their control.
Any person may nominate a property for listing on the National Heritage List by completion of a nomination form, available from the Australian Heritage Council. The nomination must identify the place being nominated, the location of the property and the reasons why the property should be listed. The Australian Heritage Council then reviews the nomination and makes a recommendation to the Minister about whether the property should be included in the List.
Tasmanian Heritage Council
In Tasmania, heritage properties are listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register, maintained by the Tasmanian Heritage Council under the provisions of the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995.
Eligibility for entry onto the Register is based upon a number of criteria, listed within the Act. For example, a place may be listed because it is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Tasmania's history or is representative of the characteristics of a broader class of cultural places. It is an offence to carry out works on a listed heritage property or within a listed heritage area, that may affect the cultural heritage significance of the property, without the approval of the Tasmanian Heritage Council (s32(1)).
Under the Act, the public has the opportunity to object or lodge submissions in relation to either the permanent listing or removal of a property from the Register.
Any person can make a representation opposing or supporting the permanent listing of a property on the Register within 60 days of public notice of the Heritage Council’s intention to list the property. Objections to the proposed listing can only be made on the basis that a property does not satisfy the criteria on which its entry is based.
Any person can make a representation opposing or supporting the removal of a property from the Register within 30 days of public notice of the Heritage Council’s intention to remove the property.
The Heritage Council will consider all comments received before making a final decision on whether to permanently list a property on the Register, or to remove a property from the Register.
Any person who made an objection or submission regarding the removal or inclusion of a property in the Register may appeal to the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal against the Heritage Council’s decision. The appeal must be lodged within 30 days of public notification of the decision.
An appeal against the permanent entry of a place on the Register may only be made on the basis that the property does not satisfy any of the required criteria on which the entry was based.
Parks and Wildlife Service
The PWS is an important body in the conservation of Tasmania’s heritage, having primary responsibility for the protection of indigenous heritage under the Aboriginal Relics Act, the management of heritage reserves, and the conservation of flora and fauna, which contributes to natural heritage conservation.
Many local councils in Tasmania maintain a register of locally important heritage properties. Once identified in a planning scheme, such properties may be subject to development restrictions in addition to obligations under State or Commonwealth heritage legislation. A local council’s heritage register may identify heritage properties not listed on any State or Commonwealth heritage register.