About the framework
The National Heritage List is established under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The list was established in 2004 to record natural, Indigenous and historic places that are of outstanding heritage value to the nation.
Australia’s national heritage includes exceptional natural and cultural places that contribute to Australia’s national identity.
There are currently 120 places recognised on the list. These places range from sites that show us First Nations peoples' continuing connection to the land and contribution to our society; to Australia's diverse natural heritage; and to the iconic moments and movements in Australia's history.
The Australian Heritage Council has developed this National Thematic Framework to assist in the identification and the Council’s assessment of National Heritage values. The Council has published this framework to assist the public in considering nominations to the National Heritage List, and as a reference for its own consideration and assessment of future nominations.
The framework is intended as general guidance only and may be subject to further change by the Council over time to reflect new stories emerging in the National Heritage List. By publishing the framework, the Council hopes to encourage a deeper understanding Australia’s outstanding heritage, as represented through the National Heritage List.
The framework is a way of identifying links between significant stories and places. It is not hierarchical – the order in which themes are listed does not reflect their importance. It is also not intended as a checklist for listing places that may represent a particular theme.
Instead, the framework can be helpful in identifying values that may not be easily recognised, so they can be better understood. It can assist in ensuring the National Heritage List recognises a range of stories and places. The Framework is only one of the tools that may assist in achieving this outcome. Other tools include the assessment of places against criteria (including the National Heritage criteria under the EPBC Act), to understand whether a place holds significance at the local, state or national level.