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Cultural heritage audits

Harming Aboriginal cultural heritage is an offence under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.

Cultural Heritage Audits

Cultural Heritage Audits may be ordered where it is suspected that the recommendations of an approved Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) or the conditions of a Cultural Heritage Permit have been contravened.

Audits provide an additional layer of protection for Aboriginal cultural heritage.

When will an audit be required?

A Cultural Heritage Audit may be required if the Minister reasonably believes that:

  • the Sponsor of a CHMP has contravened, or is likely to contravene, the recommendations of an approved CHMP or fails to comply, or a Cultural Heritage Permit holder is likely to contravene, a condition of a Cultural Heritage Permit, or
  • the impact on Aboriginal heritage is greater than was expected at the time when the CHMP was approved or the Cultural Heritage Permit was granted

Who pays for a Cultural Heritage Audit?

An Audit must be conducted by, or under the direction of an authorised officer appointed under the Act. The Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet may direct that the proponent of a development or an activity engage a cultural heritage advisor to conduct the Audit.

The Sponsor is responsible for paying the fees and reasonable expenses of the heritage advisor in conducting the audit.

The Secretary may reimburse the fees and expenses incurred by the Sponsor if the audit finds no contravention to the conditions of a CHMP or cultural heritage permit.

What happens if an audit is ordered?

If the Minister orders an Audit, a Stop Order is issued to prevent further risk of harm to Aboriginal cultural heritage, while the Audit is being undertaken and an Audit report prepared.

The Audit report must be provided to the Minister who can then amend a CHMP if required. If the Audit relates to a Cultural Heritage Permit, the Secretary must amend the conditions of the permit, in accordance with the report recommendations.