Scroll down the page to find more about the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975.
The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 is the primary legislation for the protection of Aboriginal heritage in Tasmania. Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania is responsible for the administration of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975.
The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 uses the word ‘relic’ to describe Aboriginal heritage.
Heritage is the more common word that is used in day to day language.
Under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 Aboriginal heritage (a relic) is:
(a) any artefact, painting, carving, engraving, arrangement of stones, midden, or other object, made or created by any of the original inhabitants of Australia or the descendants of any such inhabitants, which is of significance to the Aboriginal people of Tasmania; or
(b) any object, site, or place that bears signs of the activities of any such original inhabitants or their descendants, which is of significance to the Aboriginal people of Tasmania.
All Aboriginal heritage is protected under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975. A person may only lawfully impact an Aboriginal relic if they have been granted a permit to do so by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and may only do so in accordance with the terms of any permit granted by the Minister.
The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 includes substantial penalties to provide an effective deterrent against harming Aboriginal heritage.
Penalties are up to $1.6 million for a body corporate other than a small business entity and up to $800,000 for an individual or small business entity.
Objects made, or likely to have been made, for the purposes of sale (other than by way of barter or exchange in accordance with Aboriginal tradition) are not Aboriginal heritage for the purposes of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975.
If you believe you have found Aboriginal heritage you need to report it to Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania as soon as practicable.
Under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975 every person has a duty to report Aboriginal heritage if they believe they have found it. This can be done by contacting Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania opens in a new window on 1300 487 045 or email email@example.com
The Aboriginal Heritage Council is established by the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975.
Members of the Council are appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. The Council advises the Minister on Aboriginal cultural heritage including when a person applies for a permit under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1975. More information about the Aboriginal Heritage Council can be found at www.aboriginalheritage.tas.gov.au opens in a new window
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 Act.
The Guidelines provide an opportunity for people and businesses to be proactive in seeking to minimise potential harm to Aboriginal heritage and to avoid the possibility of their actions being negligent.
The Guidelines may 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 documents have been adopted in the Guidelines: