Planning and development of land

The endurance of Aboriginal society across Australia is of global significance and the cultural heritage places and objects associated with Aboriginal society are a significant part of the heritage of all Australians. More importantly, they are a fundamental part of Aboriginal community life and cultural identity. To learn more read Aboriginal Cultural Heritage is important to all Victorians.

The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (the Act) and Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) provides for the protection and management of Victoria's Aboriginal heritage with processes linked to the Victorian planning system.

The legislation provides protection for all Aboriginal places, objects and human remains regardless of their inclusion on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register or whether they are located on public or private land.
The Act also provides clear guidance to planners and developers about when, and how, Aboriginal cultural heritage needs to be considered, and in some situations work cannot proceed until compliance is met.

Large developments and other high impact activities in culturally sensitive landscapes can cause significant harm to Aboriginal cultural heritage. In these situations the Act may require the preparation of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan or the planner or developer may need to obtain a cultural heritage permit.

Not sure if a Cultural Heritage Management Plan is required for your activity?

Use the Aboriginal Heritage Planning Tool.

Is the property associated with an area of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Sensitivity?

Areas of cultural heritage sensitivity are registered Aboriginal cultural heritage places, as well as landforms and land categories that are generally regarded as more likely to contain Aboriginal cultural heritage.

If you’re not sure you can check the property using our online map.  Type your address into the Quick Search.  If it’s marked green the property is in an area of Cultural Heritage Sensitivity.

Some activities proposed in areas of Cultural Heritage Sensitivity require an approved Cultural Heritage Management Plan before the activity can start.

Cultural Heritage Management Plans

Cultural Heritage Management Plans are a way of protecting and managing Aboriginal cultural heritage, with the involvement of Registered Aboriginal Parties, while allowing development to proceed.

Some activities which will require a Cultural Heritage Management Plan are:

  • developments that require an Environment Effects Statement
  • larger scale residential or industrial subdivisions on areas of cultural heritage sensitivity, which have not previously been significantly disturbed
  • substantial infrastructure or resource development projects on areas of cultural heritage sensitivity, which have not previously been significantly disturbed.

See Practice Note: Significant Ground Disturbance for guidance about the meaning of significant ground disturbance.

Practice Note: Significant Ground Disturbance Practice Note: Significant Ground DisturbanceDOC (84.07 KB)

Aboriginal Heritage Planning Tool

A simple way to check whether a Cultural Heritage Management Plan is required for a proposed activity is to use the Aboriginal Heritage Planning Tool and follow the prompts.

Earth resources

Read the Exploration Licence Advisory Note to learn the obligations for exploration licence holders when undertaking works:

Note - Exploration Licence Advisory Note - Exploration Licence AdvisoryDOC (425.29 KB)

Geotechnical investigations to prepare for a development

Read the Geotechnical Investigations Advisory Note to learn about what to consider when undertaking geotechnical investigations:

Note - Geotechnical Investigations Advisory Note - Geotechnical Investigations AdvisoryDOC (109.84 KB)

For further information and forms, see Aboriginal Heritage Management - Guides, Forms and Practice Notes.