The State of Heritage Review: Local Heritage
The vast majority of the state’s more than 186,000 cultural heritage places are protected and managed by local government under the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Places deemed to be of value to a local community are – or may be – protected by Heritage Overlays that are part of each local council planning scheme.
The Heritage Council of Victoria is a body whose task is principally to manage heritage places identified as of value to the State as a whole, under the Heritage Act 2017, and is not directly responsible for the application and administration of Heritage Overlays. The Heritage Council nevertheless has a broad responsibility to advise on the protection of the cultural heritage assets of the state as a whole.
In late 2018, the Heritage Council of Victoria therefore commenced a review into local cultural heritage recognition, protection and management arrangements across the state. The Review’s main aims were:
- to establish a clear picture of local cultural heritage protection and management arrangements across the state to identify what support is required to improve local cultural heritage management
- to identify examples of best-practice local cultural heritage management and how this may be shared and celebrated
- to provide tangible and practical opportunities for enhancing the way State and local governments work together to recognise, protect and manage local heritage.
It was conducted in two phases:
- the first phase involved a survey of the current local heritage arrangements of all 79 local government areas across Victoria
- the second phase involved a targeted exploration of best-practice examples through a series of case study interviews and the investigation of potential solutions to the most common local cultural heritage issues through a series of workshops across the state.
The Review’s final report provides a point-in-time ‘stocktake’ of the current state of Victoria’s local heritage management arrangements that can be used as a point of comparison in future years. It notes the parts of the system that are working to deliver good quality heritage protection and management, the areas where improvements can be made and recommends how the state government, local government and the Heritage Council of Victoria can take tangible steps together to ensure local cultural heritage is protected and managed well into the future.
Acknowledgements: The Heritage Council wishes to thank the local council officers, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning staff, the Municipal Association of Victoria, the National Trust and the other heritage professionals and organisations who generously contributed their time and knowledge to the Review. In particular the Heritage Council would like to acknowledge the Royal Historical Society of Victoria which kindly collated the views of its members across the state.