Stronger Protection For Victoria’s Heritage Treasures
The Andrews Labor Government will toughen Victoria’s Heritage Act to protect state-listed heritage assets, doubling fines for damages and for unauthorised works.
The Bill to change the Heritage Act has been introduced to the Parliament and will be debated in coming weeks to legislate stronger compliance and enforcement powers for Heritage Victoria.
Maximum penalties for moving, demolishing, damaging or altering anything listed on the state register will be $746,208, five years prison or both for an individual and $1.49 million for a body corporate once the Heritage Act 2016 is passed.
All proposed works and changes to heritage-listed buildings and objects need approval from Heritage Victoria, which sits independent from the government of the day.
Changes to the Act will give Heritage Victoria more powers to issue infringement notices, stop work orders and greater capacity to issue rectification orders.
Heritage nominations and reviews will also be changed and streamlined so that opportunistic requests and weak cases for registration are more easily dealt with.
Local government will have a stronger voice in permit applications and will be able to participate in permit reviews before the Heritage Council.
The changes were developed with extensive consultation and deliver on the Labor Government’s commitment to review the Heritage Act 1995 because there had not been a major review for more than 20 years.
Victoria led the country in heritage protection, the former Historic Buildings Council was established in 1974 and the Labor Government is making sure the rules governing heritage protection are up-to-date.
Quotes attributable to Minister Wynne
“We are lucky to have more than 3000 heritage assets across the state which are a boon for the tourism industry and need proper protections in place to maintain Victoria’s history and character.”
“Heritage assets are often irreplaceable, we need stronger penalties to deter wilful destruction and to make sure the right checks are in place for any works or changes.”