Following our update Public land managers – are you aware of the new Aboriginal cultural heritage land management agreements?, the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Regulations 2016 (Vic) (Regulations) have been passed and set the standards and conditions for preparing an Aboriginal Cultural heritage land management agreement.

The standards require a desktop assessment to be included in an Aboriginal cultural heritage land management agreement. The desktop assessment must include:

  • a search of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register for information relating to the agreement area
  • an identification and determination of the geographic regions of which the agreements area forms part that is relevant to the aboriginal cultural heritage and a review of these reports
  • a review of historical and ethno-historical accounts of Aboriginal occupation of the geographic region
  • a review of the landforms or geomorphology of the agreement area
  • a review of the historical uses of the agreement area.

New Schedule 4 of the Regulations sets out the conditions which must be included in an agreement. In addition to basic information regarding the contracting parties and uses of the land during the term of the agreement, the agreements must include:

  • the method by which the Aboriginal cultural heritage in the agreement area was assessed
  • a summary of any information provided in respect of the aboriginal cultural heritage in the area, including transcripts of any oral information
  • details of subsurface testing and excavations
  • a description of any Aboriginal cultural heritage found in the area
  • cultural heritage management actions required by a public land manager or other persons.

The standards and conditions required under the Regulations are not proscriptive and allow scope for public land manager and registered aboriginal parties to tailor these documents to their particular needs.