Culture and heritage

Aboriginal cultural heritage

Code of Practice for Archaeological Investigation of Aboriginal objects in NSW

This Code has been developed to support the process of investigating and assessing Aboriginal cultural heritage. It specifies the minimum standards for archaeological investigation undertaken in NSW under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act). An Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment that requires an archaeological investigation to be undertaken must be done in accordance with the requirements of this Code.

The Code establishes the requirements:

  • for undertaking test excavation as a part of archaeological investigation without an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit (AHIP).

    If you comply with these requirements and you harm an Aboriginal object when undertaking test excavations, your actions will be excluded from the definition of harm and as such you will not be committing an offence of harm to an Aboriginal object.
  • when carrying out archaeological investigation in NSW where an application for an AHIP is likely to be made.

    Under the NPW Act, the Director General can require that certain information accompanies an application for an AHIP. This Code explains what that information is in relation to archaeological investigations.

The Code applies from 1 October 2010.

DECCW recommends that the requirements of this Code also be followed where a proponent may be uncertain about whether or not their proposed activity may have the potential to harm Aboriginal objects or declared Aboriginal places and the proponent is required to:

  • undertake further investigation to understand and establish the potential harm their proposal may have on Aboriginal cultural heritage, and
  • the further investigation involves archaeological assessment.

For guidance on whether or not further investigation is required, refer to the Due Diligence Code of Practice for the Protection of Aboriginal Objects in NSW (10798ddcop.pdf, 1.09MB)

Documents to download

Consultation on the draft Code

The development of the Code of Practice for Archaeological Investigation of Aboriginal objects in NSW involved public exhibition of the Draft Code of Practice for Archaeological Investigation NSW (10621draftcoparchinvest.pdf, 376kB)

Twenty-seven submissions were received during the public exhibition period between 1 and 28 July 2010. DECCW reviewed and considered all submissions that were made and, where appropriate, amendments were made to the Code of Practice for Archaeological Investigation of Aboriginal objects in NSW 2010. DECCW's response to each submission is detailed in this Summary of submissions received (10817submissionsummary.pdf, 375KB).

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Page last updated: 22 May 2013