50 Years

50 Years of the Victorian Heritage Register 1974-2024

Protecting Our Past, Enriching Our Future

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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 submission period now closed

The submission period for the Draft Strategy Plan has now closed. The Heritage Council will now consider all submissions received and will conduct a hearing in relation to the Draft Strategy Plan. Please note, any submission made in response to the Draft Strategy Plan in 2021 will also be considered by the Heritage Council.


The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens (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 World Heritage Environs Area (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 prepared a draft Strategy Plan which is publicly advertised from 16 July to 24 September 2021, the Heritage Council received submissions.
  • January 2022: An issue 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 issue, the Heritage Council adjourns its hearing and provides a report to the Minster for Planning on the expansion of the WHEA.
  • July 2022: The Minister for Planning supports the recommendations in the Heritage Council’s report and recommends to the Governor in Council that a new 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: http://www.gazette.vic.gov.au/
  • August 2022: The draft Strategy Plan is updated to reflect the new expanded WHEA.
  • September 2022: The draft Strategy Plan and draft planning scheme controls for the expanded WHEA area are placed on public notice, submissions are invited in accordance with section 171 of the Heritage Act 2017.
  • October 2022: The public submission period closed on 20 November.
  • A preliminary hearing was held on 17 January 2023.
    • A hearing in this matter is listed for: 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, and 24 May 2023.
  • Next steps: The Heritage Council have considered the draft Strategy Plan, draft planning controls, any submissions received, and any other matters it considers relevant. The Heritage Council have conducted a hearing and adopted the draft Strategy Plan with amendments.
  • Approval: The Heritage Council have provided a copy of 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.

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