The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens
Wilson Hall Credit: © 2018 HIN LIM AIPP | Hin Lim Photography

The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens

World Heritage Environs Area Draft World Heritage Strategy Plan

Draft World Heritage Strategy Plan now open for submissions

The Executive Director, Heritage Victoria has prepared a draft Strategy Plan for the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens (REB&CG) World Heritage Environs Area (WHEA). The draft Strategy Plan and draft planning scheme controls that give effect to the plan are available for anyone to view and respond to.


The REB&CG is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. It is one of only two World Heritage sites in Victoria and is one of Australia’s four cultural World Heritage sites. The REB&CG is managed in accordance with the World Heritage Management Plan and World Heritage Strategy Plan. The Steering Committee for the site is responsible for preparing the World Heritage Management Plan, while the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria is responsible for preparing the World Heritage Strategy Plan. Both Plans are requirements under the Heritage Act 2017 for a place included in the Victorian Heritage Register and the World Heritage List.

The Strategy Plan sets out strategies for the appropriate use of the WHEA which is an area around the REB&CG that acts as a ‘buffer zone’ to protect the world heritage values of the site. The Strategy Plan was originally prepared and advertised in July 2021, but finalisation was delayed. The Strategy Plan is again open for submissions. For further information see the timeline below.


  • July 2021: The Executive Director prepares a draft Strategy Plan which is publicly advertised from 16 July to 24 September 2021, the Heritage Council receives submissions.
  • January 2022: A problem is identified with the provisions of the Heritage Act, meaning neither the Executive Director nor the Heritage Council are empowered to consider the boundary of the WHEA, which was a component of the draft Strategy Plan.
  • April 2022: As a result of the problem, the Heritage Council adjourns its hearing into the submissions received and provides a report to the Minster for Planning on the merits of expanding the WHEA.
  • July 2022: The Minister for Planning supports the recommendation’s in the Heritage Council’s report and recommends to the Governor in Council that the WHEA be declared in accordance with section 169 of the Heritage Act 2017. The WHEA is declared in the Government Gazette on 28 July 2022. no. G 30:
  • August 2022: The draft Strategy Plan is updated to include the declared WHEA.
  • September 2022: The draft Strategy Plan and draft planning scheme controls are again placed on public notice, submissions are invited in accordance with section 171 of the Heritage Act 2017.
  • October 2022: Public submission period closes on 20 November submissions must be made on or before this date.
  • Next steps: The Heritage Council will consider the draft Strategy Plan, draft planning controls, any submissions received, and any other matters it considers relevant. The Heritage Council may then conduct a hearing and adopt the draft Strategy Plan with or without amendments. Note that the proposed planning scheme controls will not be subject to any further public process once considered by the Heritage Council.
  • Approval (likely mid – 2023): The Heritage Council must give the draft Strategy Plan to the Minister for Planning for approval. The Minster for Planning may approve the Strategy Plan with or without amendments. The Strategy Plan comes into effect on the date it is published in the Government Gazette.

How to make a submission

Any person or body is invited to make a submission on the draft Strategy Plan or draft planning scheme controls. Any submission made previously will stand and be considered by the Heritage Council, with the exception of matters relating to the extent of the WHEA.

If you had previously made a submission you are welcome to provide an updated submission or replace your previous submissions with a new submission. Please make it clear in your submission document if you are updating or replacing a previous submission.

PLEASE NOTE: This matter will NOT be conducted through the new HCV Hub.

If you need help with your submission please contact the Heritage Council on (03) 8508 1656 or by email at

As the Victorian State election will be held on Saturday 26 November 2022, the Victorian Government will assume a caretaker role from 6.00pm on 1 November 2022 until such time that either it becomes clear that the incumbent government will be returned, or when a new government is commissioned. The Approval of the World Heritage Strategy Plan will be by the incoming government.

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