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What are heritage permit exemptions?

If your proposed works will not harm the cultural heritage significance of the heritage place, there are several types of permit exemption you may be eligible for.

If your proposed works are likely to cause harm, a permit exemption won’t apply and you will need to apply for a heritage permit.

General exemptions

General exemptions apply to all places included in the Victorian Heritage Register. They allow you to undertake certain works without an approval from Heritage Victoria.

General exemptions are designed to maintain and preserve the heritage significance of your place, and cover common works across a range of categories:

  1. Maintenance and cleaning
  2. Minor repairs
  3. Painting and wallpapering
  4. Internal fitouts
  5. Testing, survey and exploration
  6. Services
  7. Safety and security
  8. Cemeteries and burial sites
  9. Vegetation and landscape management
  10. Temporary events and structures
  11. Signage
  12. Transport operations (rail and road)
  13. Agricultural operations

It is important that you understand your responsibilities when using general exemptions. Review Heritage Victoria’s process graphic and guidance documents to better understand if you can comply with all guidelines and conditions.

Search for your place. Use the is my place is heritage listed? map to see if it's included in the Victorian Heritage Register. General exemptions apply to all assets in the VHR.
Check specific exemptions. Use the map to access the VHD and look under 'Additional place information' and 'Permit exemptions'. Specific exemptions prevail if they conflict with general exemptions.
Understand General Exemptions. Read the General Permit Exemptions in full, as well as all supporting guidance.
Engage qualified practitioners. If you require a contractor, consult the Victorian Heritage Services Directory to find a practitioner qualified to undertake the work.
Keep a record. It’s good practice to keep a record of your works. You can submit a voluntary general exemptions record form to keep a record in Heritage DESK.
Notify Heritage Victoria. You must notify Heritage Victoria when using some general exemptions, or if your works uncover previously hidden material such as historical archaeological remains.

We recommend keeping a record of any works you undertake to your heritage place under general exemptions. You’re also encouraged to submit a voluntary general exemptions record form. This lodges a record of your works with Heritage Victoria that you can access at any time.

Some general exemptions require you to notify the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria of your works. If you think this applies to you, please lodge an Executive Director notification.

Exemptions specific to your place

Some heritage places have exemptions which apply only to that place. These are works that you can do without the need for an approval from Heritage Victoria. Specific exemptions prevail if they conflict with general exemptions.

To find out if your place has specific exemptions, look it up in the is my place heritage listed? interactive map and follow the link to its Victorian Heritage Database entry. Click on ‘additional place information’ and ‘permit exemptions’ to find specific exemptions. Please read these carefully to determine whether they apply to your proposed works. Most can proceed without an application to Heritage Victoria, but some require you to notify us.

Exemptions for religious services or rites

In some circumstances, you can alter a place of worship to accommodate religious practices without a permit, but you must notify the Heritage Council before you start the work. Please email them at least 28 days before you start if you think this exemption might apply to you.

Other permit exemptions

If the exemptions above don’t apply to you, you may be eligible to apply for a heritage permit exemption.

A permit exemption will usually be available for:

  • conservation
  • routine maintenance
  • introduction or replacement of services
  • removal of dead, diseased or dying trees
  • routine operational works, such as the renewal of directional signage
  • temporary structures
  • works to non-significant buildings.

Page last updated: 02/02/23