Archaeological Value Hearings Explained

Archaeological Value hearings are public processes that allow interested parties to present their views on whether or not a place should be included in the Victorian Heritage Inventory as a site of ‘archaeological value’.

The Executive Director, Heritage Victoria may make a recommendation to the Heritage Council of Victoria that a place be approved as a site of ‘archaeological value’.

The Executive Director’s recommendation is based on the assessment of whether the place:

  • Is situated in the State; and
  • Contains an artefact, deposit or feature which is less and 75 years old; and
  • Provides information of part activity in the State; and
  • Requires archaeological methods to reveal information about the settlement, development or use of the place; and
  • Is not associated only with the Aboriginal occupation of the place; and
  • Has archaeological value.

This assessment is made after Heritage Victoria research the history of the place.

The following interested parties can submit their views about the Executive Director’s recommendation to include a place as a site of archaeological value by filling out Heritage Council Form I – Archaeological Value Submission to the Heritage Council:

(i) The Executive Director, Heritage Victoria;
(ii) The owner/s or government asset manager of the place subject to the recommendation;
(iii) The relevant authority for the area in which the place is situated and, if the responsible authority is not a municipal council, the relevant municipal council

This form must be lodged within 28 days of the notice 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.

Archaeological Value Hearings

After receiving a submission in relation to a recommendation for a site of archaeological value, the Heritage Council of Victoria may hold an Archaeological Value hearing.

Archaeological Value hearings are conducted by the Regulatory Committee which is made up of at least three (3) members of Heritage Council of Victoria.

Who can make a detailed submission
When an Archaeological Value hearing has been scheduled the following people and organisations can make detailed submissions to the Committee:

    • the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria
    • the owner/s or government asset manager of the place subject to the recommendation
    • the relevant authority for the area in which the place is situated and,
    • if the responsible authority is not a municipal council, the relevant municipal council

Interested parties wishing to participate in the hearing must, by the date specified by the Heritage Council, complete and return Heritage Council Form J – Archaeological Value Hearing Participation Form.

Preparing a detailed written submission

Detailed written submissions must be lodged with the Heritage Council by the deadline provided.

Submissions must include the material that you will rely on in making your case, including:

Presenting your submission in person

You can present your submission in person at the Archaeological Value hearing, or have somebody else, including a legal representative, present on your behalf.

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 Archaeological Value 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 Heritage Council.

What happens at the Archaeological Value Hearing

A Committee of at least three (3) members of the Heritage Council of Victoria will conduct the Archaeological Value 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 relevant authority for the area in which the place is located
  • the relevant municipal council
  • the owner/s or government asset manager

Asking questions

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 outlined 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 in writing as soon as practicable.

Archaeological Value decisions

The Heritage Council of Victoria will communicate their decision by:

Additional information

Further information about hearings can be found in Heritage Council Protocol 7 – Archaeological Value Hearings

For further information on Archaeological Value hearings, contact the Hearings Manager by phone on 03 9194 0868 or by email: heritage.council@delwp.vic.gov.au.