The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 is administered by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. It is the primary legislation for the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage in Tasmania.
The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 provides for statutory guidelines which specify the actions required by a person to establish a defence in accordance with section 21 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975. They provide an opportunity for people and businesses to be pro-active in seeking to minimise potential harm to Aboriginal heritage, and to avoid the possibility of their actions being negligent.
The Guidelines also adopt any standards, rules, codes, guidelines or other documents. Anyone who acts in accordance with these adopted documents is taken to be acting in accordance with the Guidelines.
The following standards and procedures have been adopted in the Guidelines:
Aboriginal Heritage Standards and Procedures (840Kb)
Forest Practices Authority Tasmania's Procedures for managing Aboriginal cultural heritage when preparing Forest Practices Plans
The State Government's Mineral Exploration Code of Practice
The Guidelines provide for two defences:
- Action during emergency response scenarios;
- A general defence of "compliance with the guidelines" specifically for defences under sections 9 and 14 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975.
Review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975
A review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 is underway.
The review involves close consultation with the Tasmanian Aboriginal communities and other key stakeholders.
The Aboriginal Heritage Council will continue to play a key role in the review.
The discussion paper below was provided to inform feedback for the public consultation process (1 July-21 September 2019).
Discussion Paper - Review of Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 (1Mb)
Public consultation document released
The Consultation Feedback Report - Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 has been released as part of the Act's review.
Find out more about the Report and the submissions received.
A one-page summary of the public consultation process is also available.
The Aboriginal Heriage Act 1975 public consultation - at a glance (682Kb)
- Public consultation – 1 July to 21 September 2019
- Release Consultation Feedback Report - December 2019
- Targeted Consultation - Commencing early 2020
- Review Report with recommendations prepared - second half of 2020
- Table Review Report in Parliament - by end of 2020
Other relevant legislation
Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1995
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984
Aboriginal Lands Act 1995
National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002
Crown Lands Act 1976
Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995
Coroners Act 1995
Museums (Aboriginal Remains) Act 1984