New Heritage Act
6 April 2017
After passing through both houses of Parliament in 2016 and early 2017, the Heritage Bill 2016 received Royal Assent on 15 March 2017
The current Heritage Act 1995 is Victoria's principal legislation for the identification and management of state significant heritage — such as, Flinders Street Station, Hanging Rock near Macedon and the Eureka Flag — as well as historical archaeological sites and shipwrecks.
In Keeping it Liveable, Labor's Plan for Your Community the Andrew's Government committed to undertake a review of the Heritage Act 1995 to strengthen protection of Victoria's heritage.
Public consultation on the proposed changes to the Heritage Act occurred between June and August 2015. This included a mail-out of information to more than 5,000 stakeholders; public forums in Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon, Warrnambool and Wangaratta attended by more than 200 people; and targeted meetings with more than 50 key stakeholders including government departments and agencies, industry and community organisations. More than 125 submissions were received with broad support for the proposed changes.
The Bill modernises and improves processes and protections provided under the Heritage Act 1995. It aims to simplify key statutory processes to reduce regulatory burden and provide clarity and certainty for all users. It also improves compliance and enforcement to ensure higher level protection for state significant heritage and provides an appropriate fee structure for heritage approvals, appeals and penalties.The Bill was developed by Heritage Victoria and the Legal Services Division. Work is now focussed on developing new regulations to support the Bill which will come into operation on 1 November 2017.