Search for Aboriginal sites

The Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System contains information and records about Aboriginal places and objects.

You can search the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) to find out if an Aboriginal Place or object has been recorded in a particular area.

Before carrying out an activity that will alter the landscape you must think about how it might affect Aboriginal sites. For some activities, the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 requires you to exercise due diligence to check if Aboriginal sites will be harmed by your activities. Checking AHIMS is part of due diligence.

Other reasons for using AHIMS include:

  • conveyance before purchase or sale of a property
  • Aboriginal heritage research, studies and assessments
  • fire hazard reduction certificates
  • Aboriginal community initiatives.

AHIMS and due diligence

The Due Diligence Code of Practice for the Protection of Aboriginal Objects in NSW (the Code of Practice; PDF 1MB) must be used by individuals or organisations considering undertaking activities that could harm Aboriginal sites.

It sets out a process to help you determine whether:

The Code of Practice lists industry-specific due diligence codes, such as for minerals and forestry industries. These have been adopted by the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2019 and where relevant can be followed instead of the more generic code.

Once you register or log in to AHIMS (AHIMS web services), a key step in the due diligence process is to check for Aboriginal sites. To do this:

  • conduct a free AHIMS basic search in the area of the proposed activity
  • if the results indicate that AHIMS contains information about an Aboriginal site in the area of the proposed activity, you must request an extensive search.

Using AHIMS

An Aboriginal heritage information licence agreement (AHILA) is used to request information about large areas or for information that is deemed sensitive. For example it could include information about:

  • multiple recorded Aboriginal sites across a local government area or particular region
  • sensitive Aboriginal sites
  • recorded Aboriginal sites located near a major development project (such as road or other infrastructure network).

An AHILA is a signed agreement between the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) and the person asking for the information. It lists the terms under which the requested Aboriginal heritage information will be released by DPC and lists your obligations when using the information.

Most AHILAs are completed within 4 to 8 weeks. This gives Aboriginal organisations enough time to provide their endorsement or to comment on the release of the information.

AHIMS services and fees are outlined in the table. Aboriginal people, Aboriginal community organisations and some government agencies are eligible for fee waivers.

AHIMS service What you get Fee (GST exempt)

Report or
site card

PDF report prepared PDF of report via email, usally after an AHIMS database search $0.40 per page
(minimum charge $20.00 if not associated with a search service)

Archive visit

Archive visit Access to AHIMS archive Free
Archive visit photocopy or PDF Photocopies or PDF $0.40 per page
(minimum charge $20.00 if not associated with a search service)

Search

AHIMS basic search Cover letter Free
AHIMS extensive search PDF of AHIMS report,or Excel, plus cover letter $60
AHIMS/GIS search PDF of AHIMS report $60
Express search surcharge Service provided in 2 working days $50

Data

Aboriginal Heritage Information Licence Agreement (AHILA) Use of or access to data for up to 2 years $210
Resupply of data from AHILA Resupply of data based on current AHILA (includes the new search) $60

Other

Processing surcharge Specialist services that cannot be processed under normal service conditions $90 per hour

Users eligible for fee waivers of AHIMS services include:

  • Aboriginal community persons or organisations
  • Local Land Services
  • NSW Rural Fire Service
  • Forestry Corporation of NSW
  • NSW Office of Water
  • Property NSW
  • Department of Planning and Environment
  • Aboriginal Affairs NSW
  • Office of the Registrar Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 NSW
  • NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • NSW Agriculture
  • Fisheries NSW
  • NSW Food Authority
  • Biosecurity NSW
  • NSW Environment Protection Authority.