The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) is responsible for protecting and conserving Aboriginal objects and declared Aboriginal places in New South Wales.
Part 6 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act) provides specific protection for Aboriginal objects and declared Aboriginal places by establishing offences of harm. Harm means to destroy, deface, damage or move an object from the land.
There are a number of defences and exemptions to the offence of harming an Aboriginal object or place. This code of practice establishes 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.
This code also establishes requirements that must be followed when carrying out archaeological investigations in New South Wales where an application for an AHIP is likely to be made. Under the NPW Act, OEH can require that certain information accompany an application for an AHIP. This Code explains what that information is in relation to archaeological investigations.