The Aboriginal Heritage Regulations and Guidelines set out the detail about the operation of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988. Practical advice on management of Aboriginal heritage is provided in the following fact sheets.

Aboriginal Heritage Guidelines

  1. Recognised Aboriginal Representative Bodies (PDF, 975.3 KB)
  2. Division A2 Agreements (PDF, 959.4 KB)
  3. Local Heritage Agreements (PDF, 992.7 KB)
  4. Aboriginal Heritage Registers (PDF, 897.0 KB)
  5. Negotiating in Good Faith (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Discovery of Aboriginal Heritage

If you discover an Aboriginal site or object, you must stop any work that may impact the site or object. Leave everything in place and contact Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation on (08) 8226 8900, providing the location and details of the site or object.

If you find skeletal remains, you must stop any work that may impact them, you must not disturb them further, and call the police on 131 444. The police will determine whether they are Aboriginal ancestral remains and if so, you must contact us to take the appropriate action.

Discovery of Aboriginal sites and objects fact sheet (PDF, 155.3 KB)

Management of Aboriginal Heritage

Under section 23 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988, it is an offence to damage, disturb or interfere with an Aboriginal site, object or remains without an authorisation from the Premier, as the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation.

Early engagement with the relevant Traditional Owners or RARB is encouraged to ensure projects are planned to minimise the risk of damage to Aboriginal heritage. Requests for authorisation under section 21 and section 23 can be submitted to the Premier together with a local heritage agreement made with a RARB.

Project Planning and Aboriginal Heritage fact sheet (PDF, 89.3 KB)

Authorisations and agreements

Applications for authorisations under sections 21, 23 and / or 29 of the AHA and requests for approval of Agreements under the AHA can be lodged through the new AAR Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Register and Information Management System, Taa wika.

Application for authorisation under Sections 21, 23 and 29 (DOCX, 52.5 KB)

Application for approval of an Agreement under other Acts (Division A2) (DOCX, 18.3 KB)


Listed are the fees that apply to the following applications under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988.

Approval of local heritage agreement under section 19I of the Act$279.00
Approval of agreement under section 19M of the Act$279.00
Search of Register of Aboriginal Sites and Objects – basic search$27.75
Search of Register of Aboriginal Sites and Objects – extended search$83.50 per hour (or part there of)
Authority under section 21 of the Act (where no accompanying local heritage agreement)$279.00
Authority under section 23 of the Act (where no accompanying local heritage agreement)$279.00
Authority under section 35 of the Act$279.00

Fee exemptions

Section 8(2) of the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2017 allows for the Premier to provide exemptions from the prescribed fees to specified persons or bodies. Exemptions have been granted to:

  1. Aboriginal organisations, as defined under s.3 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988
  2. Students and researchers who conduct, direct, or assist research into Aboriginal heritage.

Applicants who believe they are eligible for the exemption are required to substantiate this claim by completing the Application for fee exemption.

Application for fee exemption (PDF, 746.8 KB)

For more information, contact us.