Australia's state and territory governments have broad responsibilities for recognising and protecting Australia's Indigenous heritage, including archaeological sites.
Indigenous heritage can be protected under state or territory heritage laws to varying degrees. Usually state and territory laws automatically protect various types of areas or objects, while enabling developers to apply for a permit or certificate to allow them to proceed with activities that might affect Indigenous heritage.
|Jurisdiction||Principal Indigenous heritage legislation|
|Australian Capital Territory||
Heritage Act 2004
|New South Wales||
National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act 1989
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003
Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988
Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975
Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021
Copies of these laws can be downloaded from www.austlii.edu.au.
Locating places protected under state and territory laws
Most of Australia's states and territories maintain registers of Indigenous heritage sites. Developers need to be aware that these registers may not be comprehensive records of all the Indigenous sites that are protected under state and territory laws. Where there is a risk that a planned activity could have adverse impacts on Indigenous heritage it is advisable to contact the state or territory government agency that is responsible for protecting Indigenous heritage and maintaining the register.