1 February

Amendments to the Heritage Act 2017 and Heritage Regulations 2017 came into effect on 1 February 2024.

The amendments provide for:

  • New statutory applications.
  • Applications to exclude places and objects from the Victorian Heritage Register.
  • General amendments that improve the operation of the Heritage Act.
  • Online access to heritage documents, notices, and hearings.

Act amendment fact sheets

We have prepared three fact sheets to help understand the Act Amendments’ effect on key areas of heritage regulation:

Summary of changes

New application types

  • Minor permit amendment application
  • Notification to the Heritage Victoria Executive Director regarding exemption for religious rites or services at a place of worship
  • Archaeological consent amendment application
  • Archaeological consent exemption application
  • Nomination to add land or objects integral to a registered or nominated place
  • Exclusion applications.

Exclusion determinations will support early assessment of heritage significance

The Amendment Act allows for applications to exclude places and objects from the register where the applicant is a government asset manager, department head, public authority or administrative office head and the exclusion application relates to a major project. This will help agencies establish the heritage significance of any place or object before a project starts and provide certainty of approval pathways.

These applications will request that a place or object is excluded from the Victorian Heritage Register. The executive director will assess the application. If the place or object does not meet the required threshold, the exclusion will be granted. If it could meet the threshold for inclusion in the heritage register, it will become a nomination for inclusion. Either way, it means the significance of a place or object can be established in the planning stages of a major project.

If an exclusion is granted, new nominations for the place or object will not be considered for five years. This can be overturned if significant new information is provided. This means exclusion applications need to be robust. If state-significant heritage is identified, it will be considered before works start as part of project planning.

The Heritage Council can receive requests to review any decision to grant or refuse an exclusion within 28 days.

General amendments to improve and streamline operation of the Heritage Act

The amendments will improve the Heritage Act’s operation. The amendments:

  • Allow Heritage Victoria to amend permit applications to get a better heritage outcome. Owner permission is required.
  • Allow applicants to make minor permit amendment requests without paying a fee.
  • Allow permit exemptions to be revoked if they do not reflect best heritage practice.
  • Require permits to be issued in 45 business days rather than 60 calendar days.
  • Allow the executive director to remove archaeological sites from the Heritage Inventory where they are of low value or part of another listing.
  • Introduce a 20-day statutory timeframe for decisions on archaeological consents and site cards.
  • Allow applications for archaeological consent amendments and exemptions.
  • Require archaeological survey reports to be submitted within six months.
  • Ensure nominations to add land or objects integral to a place are subject to the same provisions as other nomination types.
  • Provide reasons for decisions by the Heritage Council’s on whether to include a place or object in the Victorian Heritage Register.

Online access to documents, notices and hearings

The amendments respond to issues that arose as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During lockdowns, Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council could not give the public access to documents in their offices.

The amendments resolve this issue. Documents will no longer need to be made available in offices during a disaster, a pandemic declaration, or a state of emergency. Instead, documents can be made available online. The Act enhances public access to Heritage Council hearings by providing for online hearings.

The amendments ensure online access to the Victorian Heritage Register and Heritage Inventory. The amendments also ensure protection for personal information during the permit process.

Further information

A full copy of the Amended Act can be accessed at: Heritage Act 2017.

For more information about online hearings and amendments affecting the Heritage Council of Victoria please visit the Heritage Council.

Page last updated: 02/02/24