Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

State government heritage - frequently asked questions

What is the function of S170 of the Heritage Act 1977?

The Amending Regulation maintains the position that Government entities must take an active role in the identification of heritage assets under their care and control, and in reporting those items to the Heritage Council of NSW in a pro-active way. The Heritage and Conservation Register data is critical for flagging items of local and State heritage value within an organisations care, control or ownership, and for therefore ensuring that sound management approaches are implemented to safeguard those items. Accordingly, State agencies still have an obligation to properly and effectively manage and maintain their asset portfolios as custodians for the community.

Why has the reporting requirements of S170 of the Heritage Act been changed?

The changes seek to affect a change in the level of reporting formally required by agencies, and in minimising the duplication of reporting on heritage data, particularly for those items already including in heritage schedules to Local Environmental Plans (LEPs). The Amending Regulation specifically addresses the concerns raised by a number of large State government bodies that retain extensive heritage asset collections, in the difficulties of reporting on sizeable portfolios, and the costs to those agencies for detailing extensive site inventory data. These concerns were tabled to the Expert Review Panel of the Heritage Act 1977 and led to a reduction in the mandatory reporting requirements for State agencies for those items in their care identified as locally significant.

Should commissioning agencies be following the extant Heritage Asset Management Guidelines or the amended Heritage Regulation?

Commissioning agencies should follow the amended Heritage Amendment Regulation 2010 with regard to the identification of items for listing on section 170 Registers. The Heritage Asset Management Guidelines are still applicable to other heritage management matters and is being updated to reflect those changes brought about by the Regulation and the Heritage Act Amendments.

We have just completed a Heritage & Conservation Register using the old HAMS guidelines - completing full inventory sheets for all items, both of local and State significance.

Agencies who have already completed S170 Heritage & Conservation Registers and had them endorsed by the Heritage Council, or are just in the process of forwarding them for endorsement may feel that they have undertaken additional work than now required. The new changes introduced by the Government do create a change in the level and complexity of data submitted in a Heritage & Conservation Register. The Heritage Branch notes that these changes were introduced through an independent review process, and that the Heritage Council of NSW is now charged with implementing those changes. Agencies that have completed full Registers based on the pre-2010 Heritage Regulation changes have completed a significant body of work that will enable them to continue to monitor and manage their heritage assets. The Heritage Council still encourages agencies to complete detailed Inventory Sheets for all assets, beyond the minimal mandatory entry requirements for locally listed items, now approved under the changes. In this, it reaffirms State government agencies obligations to effectively manage heritage items in their control on behalf of the community.

Some agencies have commissioned either the preparation or review of Heritage and Conservation Registers based on the directions contained in the extant Heritage Asset Management Guidelines issued in accordance with section 170A of the Heritage Act. When will these guidelines be updated and aligned to the requirements of the amended regulation?

The Heritage Branch is currently revising and updating the Heritage Asset Management Guidelines. The updated Guidelines will require endorsement by the Heritage Council of NSW and be signed by the Minister for Planning. This will occur during 2010. In the meantime the Heritage Branch is happy to answer any questions Agencies may have regarding section 170 of the Heritage Act.

In regard to Clause 20 (1)(a) does this include heritage items within conservation areas under a environmental planning instrument?

Items as defined by the Heritage Act 1977 includes a place, building, work, relic, moveable object or precinct. A precinct as defined by the Heritage Act 1977 means an area, a part of an area, or any other part of the State. As such buildings that are located within and contribute to the heritage significance of a conservation area are considered to be heritage items and are to be included on s.170 Registers.

What is the status of a heritage item that has not been identified through Clause 20 (1) (a-d) of the Heritage Regulation?

At a minimum Agencies are legally required to list those items identified through Section 20 (1)(a-d) of the Heritage Amendment Regulation 2010. If the Agency or another body has identified a heritage item in an Agency's ownership, occupation or management (but not statutorily listed) it may be included on the s.170 Register. The Heritage Branch recommends this pro-active approach.

In regard to Clause 20 (3) is there a new format for Heritage and Conservation Registers available or is the State Heritage Inventory database software still applicable?

It is recommended that the State Heritage Inventory database software or similar electronic database with matching fields be used for the preparation of s.170 Registers. For locally significant items the minimum level of information is the item's name, location and the name of the local government area in which it is situated. To assist heritage management and meet best-practice the government Agency may add additional information in its s.170 if it so desires. For State listed or those identified as of State significance by the Agency, but not yet listed on the SHR a fully competed State Heritage Inventory record/form is required.

In regard to Clause 20 (4) in respect to items described in sub clause (1)(d) and (c) what is the form approved by the Director-General?

The form approved by the Director-General is the State Heritage Inventory database software or similar electronic database with matching fields.

How do the amendments to the regulation affect the extant Heritage Asset Management Guidelines? For example should a thematic history still be prepared and should a curtilage for be identified for items of local significance?

Primarily the amendments to the Regulation affects what items are to be included in an agency's s.170 Register and what level of information is required in the Register. A Thematic History should still be prepared for the agency. A curtilage map for identified items of local significance is not mandatory, however the government agency may wish to prepare one to guide the overall assessment of its heritage items.

Can agencies who already have endorsed s.170 Registers revise their Registers in accordance with the amended regulation?

Yes. The Heritage Branch recommends that the planning and timing of the revision be identified in the agency's Heritage Asset Management Strategy.

Page last updated: 01 September 2012