Often required at the earliest stage of a project. It allows the exposure of archaeology so we can understand the value, condition and extent of the site. If you are proposing to demolish a building on a Victorian Heritage Inventory site, you should apply for a consent to uncover.
On this page:
Do I need a consent?
You need a consent from Heritage Victoria to disturb any historical archaeological site in Victoria. There are no exemptions available.
Known historical archaeological sites are listed in the Victorian Heritage Inventory. Historical archaeological sites which aren’t included in the Victorian Heritage Inventory are also protected.
Apply for a consent
The Heritage Act regulates change to historical archaeological sites. It is your responsibility to determine if a consent is required before you start works.
Thorough research and preparation is required to develop a successful consent application. In most cases you will need to engage an archaeologist to provide specialist advice.
These steps will help you through the process:
Step 1: Understand the different types of consent
Different activities affect archaeological sites in different ways. The activity will dictate the type of consent you need. You may need more than 1 consent to deliver your project.
Often required after a consent to uncover. It allows for the site to be investigated using archaeological methods.
Comes at the end of the investigation. This approves the disturbance and removal of site features and remains, sometime subject to monitoring and recording. There are 2 types of consent to damage: a consent to damage less than 50% of the site, and a consent to damage more than 50% of the site.
A catchall approval for other activities. These may include geotechnical testing, service proving, maintenance works or ballast replacement. A consent for other works is also required for Aboriginal heritage investigations including Cultural Heritage Management Plans testing.
Step 2 : Get professional advice
No matter what type of consent you’re applying for, you should get advice regarding the impacts of your proposal on archaeology. You may need to engage a consulting archaeologist. It’s likely they will be involved throughout the project. This will include involvement in the application, excavation, analysis and reporting.
Step 3: Prepare your application
Commission your experts to help prepare the required documentation for the proposed works at the archaeological site. This may include:
- An outline of your proposed works, including the impact on archaeology
- A description and background history for the site
- A statement of significance of the archaeological site
- The method and level of archaeological investigation proposed including research design and excavation methodology
- An artefact retention policy and artefact management proposal
- Curriculum vitae demonstrating the skills and experience of the archaeologist and conservator
- A letter detailing the engagement of the project conservator
Complete the consent application form, including the signature of the owner. You will need to provide proof that you have paid the application fee. In some instances, fees may be waived. You can request a fee waiver by completing the form and submitting it with your application.
What happens after you've lodged your application
After you lodge the application, Heritage Victoria will check it and advise you in writing if further information is required. If they do, you should provide the information promptly otherwise the application won’t be processed further.
Heritage Victoria prepares a report which describes:
- Why the site is significant
- The project and its impacts on the archaeology
- Relevant archaeological, historical or other research
- The proposed research framework and methodology
- The potential for the site to contribute to such knowledge
- The qualifications, skills and experience of the archaeologist
- The proposed conservation and curation of any artefacts found
Heritage Victoria makes a recommendation about whether or not a consent should be granted. The Executive Director, Heritage Victoria or their delegate makes the final decision on whether a consent should be granted.
It generally takes about 3 weeks to determine a consent application.
Page last updated: 10/03/21