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Preliminary Aboriginal Heritage Tests

Get certainty about whether a cultural heritage management plan is required for your activity.

The Preliminary Aboriginal Heritage Test (PAHT) provides sponsors with certainty about whether a cultural heritage management plan (CHMP) is required for a proposed activity. The Secretary to the Department of Premier and Cabinet certifies whether a CHMP is required for a proposed activity.

The Secretary must decide whether to certify the PAHT as correct within a 21 day evaluation period.

When should a PAHT be undertaken?

The preparation of a PAHT is voluntary. A responsible authority (such as a Local Government Authority) cannot require a PAHT to be prepared before a statutory authorisation is issued for a proposed activity.

You're expected to exercise due diligence in determining your requirements under the Act and the Regulations on proposed activities. If it is clear that a CHMP is not required, there is no need to prepare a PAHT. The responsible authority should then be sufficiently satisfied that a statutory authorisation can be issued.

However, if you're unsure of the requirements and want to seek certainty, the preparation and submission of a PAHT for certification may be appropriate. For instance, a sponsor may be unclear as to whether their proposed activity area has been subject to significant ground disturbance.

Who can prepare a PAHT?

The person proposing the activity can prepare the PAHT.

You will need to engage a person who can access the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage RegisterExternal Link , such as a heritage advisor or the relevant Registered Aboriginal PartyExternal Link to assist in the preparation of a PAHT.

What must a PAHT include?

A PAHT must include the information necessary to establish whether a CHMPExternal Link is required for a proposed activity.

You will need to include:

If a survey for Aboriginal cultural heritageExternal Link is undertaken for a PAHT, the survey must be conducted in accordance with section 34A of the Act. The PAHT application must include the results of that survey, and any details required under section 34A of the Act.

A PAHT submitted to the Secretary for certification must also be accompanied by the fee prescribed in the Regulations.

The approved application form for a Preliminary Aboriginal Heritage Test.

How is a PAHT certified by the Secretary?

The conclusions of a PAHT must include:

  • a statement of whether a CHMPExternal Link is required for the proposed activity
  • a statement of whether significant ground disturbance is evident in the proposed activity area and the nature and extent of that disturbance
  • details of any other action recommended to protect or preserve any Aboriginal cultural heritage in the proposed activity area
  • the details of any obstacles encountered in preparing the test

A PAHT will be certified by the Secretary if the conclusions are informed and confirmed by the supporting information. The Secretary may request any additional information the Secretary reasonably considers necessary to make a decision. The 21 day evaluation period ceases to run when the Secretary requests the information, and recommences when the information is provided.

Can the Secretary's decision be appealed?

There are no appeal provisions as an application for certification of a PAHT is voluntary. Compliance with the certified PAHT decision is mandatory if it requires an approved CHMP for the proposed activity.

Reviewed 04 August 2023

First Peoples – State Relations

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