Heritage Protection in Victoria: the role of State and local government

Heritage protection in Victoria is essentially delivered at two levels with a clear separation of responsibilities between State and local government.

The below brochure provides an overview of Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council of Victoria in the management of State-level heritage places and objects, and local government in respect to local-level heritage places.

Download the Heritage Protection in Victoria (PDF, 391.0 KB) brochure


We show respect for our cultural heritage by retaining and managing places that have importance to us as a community.

We conserve and enhance places of aesthetic, archaeological, architectural, cultural, scientific or social significance, or otherwise of special cultural value.

Heritage Victoria supports and works with the Heritage Council of Victoria which is an independent statutory authority and Victoria's main decision-making body on (non-Indigenous) cultural heritage issues.

Heritage Victoria is the Victorian State Government's principal cultural (non-Aboriginal) heritage agency. View more information ab.out Aboriginal heritage

We identify, protect and interpret Victoria's most significant cultural heritage resources, and give advice on heritage matters to:

  • private owners
  • local and State government
  • industry and
  • the general community.

We also:

All of the files we hold are treated as confidential and we don’t provide access to property owners, heritage consultants, members of the public or other third parties.

We’re committed to protecting the privacy of your personal and health information according to the principles set out in the Information Privacy Act 2000 and the Health Records Act 2001

We will only use or disclose personal information when it is:

  • for the purpose for which it was collected
  • for a related purpose that the person would reasonably expect 
  • with the consent of the person or
  • for uses authorised by the law.

Information provided to enable the administration of the Heritage Act 2017 can be disclosed to people with an interest in the heritage place or object, and information provided as part of a permit application may be made available online if the application has been publicly advertised under section 68 of the Heritage Act.

If you have questions about access to information held by the Department, contact:

Privacy Officer
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
PO Box 500, Melbourne
VIC 8002

If you need access to information that may be held by Heritage Victoria, make a formal Freedom of Information (FOI) request in writing with the application fee to:

Freedom of Information Manager
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
PO Box 500
Melbourne, VIC 8002

Visit Freedom of Information for more information such as:

  • Victorian Freedom of Information Act 1982
  • the FOI request fee
  • an FOI request form

The Victorian Government requires all regulators to have a Statement of Expectations (SOE) in place to establish clear expectations for regulator performance to reduce red tape affecting businesses, not for profit organisations, government service providers, and households. A SOE provides a consistent framework for regulators to improve administration and enforcement of regulation.

The letter to the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria sets out improvements and targets that form the Statement of Expectations (SOE) from Minister for Planning to Heritage Victoria (PDF, 629.3 KB)

The Executive Director's response to the Minister for Planning – SOE from Heritage Victoria to Minister for Planning  (PDF, 696.4 KB) – sets out how the improvements and targets will be met in 2018-2020.

Heritage Listings


A heritage place include an area of land covered by water, building, archaeological site, tree, garden, geological formation, fossil site or other place of natural or cultural significance and its associated land. All municipalities contain important heritage places.


Heritage objects can include furniture, shipwrecks, artifacts, archaeological artefacts, equipment, transport vehicles and everyday articles that contribute to an understanding of Victoria's history.

Heritage places and objects in Victoria are of state or local significance.

If a place or object is important to understanding the history of Victoria we say it is of state level cultural heritage significance. Heritage places and objects of state level significance that also meet the Heritage Council’s assessment criteria are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

We maintain the Victoria Heritage Register and issue heritage permits for heritage places and objects of state significance under the Heritage Act 2017. We also have a register of non-Aboriginal archaeological sites in the Heritage Inventory.

Places of local significance may be protected by listing on a schedule to the Heritage Overlay under your local council's planning scheme. Local government manages the identification and protection of places under the planning scheme.  

Councils are responsible for issuing planning permits for the use and development of heritage places under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

The National Trust is a community organisation that works towards preserving and protecting heritage places.

Heritage places that are identified and classified by the National Trust aren’t legally recognised.

The National Trust plays an important role in advocating for heritage protection but it doesn’t issue heritage or planning permits.

Page last updated: 29/11/19