Registration hearings are public processes that allow interested people to present their views on whether or not a place or object is added to the Victorian Heritage Register.
The Executive Director, Heritage Victoria makes recommendations to the Heritage Council of Victoria on whether places or objects should be added to or amended on the Victorian Heritage Register.
The Executive Director’s recommendation is based on the assessment of the place’s or object’s cultural heritage significance to Victoria. This assessment is made after Heritage Victoria research the history of the place or object, complete a comparative analysis with similar places or objects, and consider the integrity and condition of the place or object.
Anyone can submit their views about the Executive Director’s recommendation to include or not to include a place or object in the Register by filling out Heritage Council Form A – Submission to the Heritage Council (Reg 7). This form must be lodged within 60 days of the publication of the Executive Director’s recommendation. Submitters will be advised whether or not a hearing is to be held. Recommendations open for comment under the Heritage Act 2017 are listed under Executive Director Recommendations.
The Heritage Council of Victoria holds Registration hearings when:
- A person or body with a real and substantial interest in the place/object requests a hearing
- in other cases as necessary.
Registration hearings are conducted by the Registrations and Reviews Committee which is made up of at least three (3) members of Heritage Council of Victoria.
Who can make a detailed submission
When a Registration hearing has been scheduled the following people and organisations can make detailed submissions to the Committee:
- any person the Heritage Council allows in order to inform itself
- the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria
- the owner/s of the place or object subject to the recommendation
- the relevant Municipal Council
- the National Trust
- the person who nominated the place or object to the Victorian heritage register
- a person who made an initial submission
- the person who requested the hearing.
Preparing a detailed written submission
Detailed written submissions must be lodged with the Heritage Council by the deadline provided.
Your submission must include the material that you will rely on in making your case, including:
- a written statement of any witness’s evidence
- a written statement of any expert evidence
- any photographic or audio/visual evidence
- any audio visual presentations
- reference to the relevant assessment criteria
- any comments on:
- whether the place (or part thereof) or object is of State-level cultural heritage significance
- the category or categories in which the place or object should be included in the Victorian Heritage Register
- extent of registration
- the categories of works/activities able to be carried out without the need for a permit
Presenting your submission in person
You can present your submission in person at the Registration hearing, or have somebody else, including a legal representative, present on your behalf. To ask to verbally present your submission, complete and return Heritage Council Form B – Registration Hearing Participation Form.
You can also nominate expert witnesses to support your case, as well as presenting material in audio visual form.
Note: If you wish to present your submission in person, all arguments and relevant material must be provided in writing prior to the hearing.
Replying to other submissions
Before the Registration hearing all the detailed written submissions will be circulated to everyone involved in the form they are received. Please note that the Council does not redact personal information so please only provide submissions that you are happy to have circulated.
You can read and respond to one another’s material and evidence before the hearing. Replying to other submissions is not compulsory but it allows you to review and respond to the material of others if you wish.
Replies to submissions (called ‘Submissions in Reply’) must be lodged with the Heritage Council of Victoria by the deadline provided. These replies will also be circulated to all other parties before the hearing.
All submissions may be accessible to the public through the Freedom of Information Act.
Who can attend
Hearings are open to the public and the media. However, photography, video or audio recording will only be allowed if prior consent is given by the Council.
What happens at the Registration Hearing
A Committee of at least three (3) members of the Heritage Council of Victoria will conduct the Registration hearing.
A chairperson from the Committee will begin by explaining how things will run. The chairperson will make sure people stay to the time allocated for presentations and do not repeat points or comments made by others.
You can also ask someone else to represent you (e.g. a legal representative).
The order of hearing submissions will generally be:
- the Executive Director
- the Nominator
- the Municipal Council
- the National Trust
- other persons
- the owner.
Direct questioning of expert witnesses by any party is allowed but the chairperson can disallow questions that are deemed inappropriate or badgering.
Questions to all presenters are allowed for the purposes of clarification with the chairperson’s permission.
The conduct of expert witnesses is outline in Heritage Council Protocol 6: Expert Evidence.
Presenting your case
Your verbal submission should:
- be as brief as possible
- reflect the main arguments of the written material you have lodged
- avoid restating points made by previous speakers
- avoid introducing new material that has not previously been circulated.
Adjourning a Hearing
If you require more time you can request the Committee adjourn the hearing, using Heritage Council Form E – Request for Adjournment.
Withdrawing from a Hearing
If you wish to withdraw from the process, you must advise the Committee as soon as practicable.
Registration Hearing decisions
The Heritage Council of Victoria will communicate their decision by:
- writing to all parties involved in the hearing
- publishing their decision on the Heritage Council website
- including it on the Australasian Legal Information Institute’s Victorian Law Resources database.
Further information about hearings can be found in Heritage Council Protocol 1 – Registration Hearings.
For further information on Registration hearings, contact the Hearings Coordinator by phone on 03 9651 5063 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.