Apply for an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit

Find out how to apply for an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit and what you need to include in your application.

To apply for an Aboriginal heritage impact permit (AHIP) you will first need to conduct an investigation to identify what Aboriginal cultural heritage will be harmed by a proposed activity. Once this assessment has been made and if harm cannot be avoided, you should apply for an AHIP.

An AHIP can be issued by the Chief Executive of the Department under Part 6 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act) where harm to an Aboriginal object or Aboriginal Place cannot be avoided. Section 90 of the NPW Act relates specifically to AHIPs. An AHIP can be issued, transferred, varied, surrendered, revoked or suspended.

Under the NPW Act, it is an offence to harm an Aboriginal object or place. A defence to this is to apply for an AHIP.

An AHIP provides a defence if:

  • the harm was authorised by the AHIP
  • the conditions of that AHIP were not contravened.

You should apply for an AHIP if your proposed activity will directly or indirectly harm an Aboriginal object or a declared Aboriginal Place.

You may not need to apply for an AHIP to harm an Aboriginal object or Aboriginal Place if your activity:

  • was authorised by or under the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989
  • was authorised by or under the Rural Fires Act 1997 in relation to emergency fire fighting or bushfire hazard reduction work
  • was required or permitted under a conservation agreement entered into under the NPW Act
  • was required for the conservation or protection of an Aboriginal object or Aboriginal Place and was carried out by a departmental officer or person under the direction of that officer
  • occurred while an Aboriginal person was undertaking a traditional cultural activity (not a commercial activity).

You may not require an AHIP before causing harm to Aboriginal objects only if:

  • you undertake a test excavation in accordance with the Code of Practice for Archaeological Investigation in NSW
  • you have undertaken due diligence in accordance with Due Diligence Code of Practice for the Protection of Aboriginal Objects in NSW or industry-specific codes of practice specified in section 80A of the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009 and determined that Aboriginal objects are not present or are unlikely to be present and an activity will not harm those objects.

To apply for an AHIP you will need to:

  1. prepare an Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment report
  2. fill out an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report Cover Sheet (DOC 76KB) to accompany your assessment report
  3. complete a consultation process with the Aboriginal community relevant to the proposal
  4. download and complete an AHIP application form (PDF 130KB)
  5. print your completed AHIP application form and support documents, and submit these to the relevant regional office.

Once the correct regional office has received a completed application the review will take 60 days. Make sure you send your application to the regional office relevant to the area of your proposed activity.

More information on how to apply is available in our Applying for an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit: Guide for applicants.

You can apply to OEH to transfer, vary or surrender an AHIP.

Transfer an AHIP

To transfer an AHIP to another person you need to:

Vary an AHIP

A variation includes the substitution, omission or amendment of an existing condition, or attaching a new condition, to an AHIP. Depending on the nature and breadth of the variation, consultation may be required.

To vary an AHIP you need to:

  • complete an Aboriginal community consultation process if your variation will result in a significant increase in harm
  • download and fill in the AHIP variation application form (PDF 700KB) and provide additional information to support your application
  • send your completed form, support documents and payment to your nearest regional office.

Surrender an AHIP

An AHIP can be surrendered by the AHIP holder. Fees are not refunded when an AHIP is surrendered. To surrender an AHIP you need to:

More information is available in our Applying for an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit: Guide for applicants (PDF 556KB).

Fees vary depending on the cost of the work and the type of application you make.

AHIP application fees

Type of work Fee
Work to an owner-occupied dwelling that costs up to $100,000 $80
Other work that costs up to $100,000
$133
Work that costs between $100,000 and $250,000
$200
Work that costs between $250,000 and $500,000 $332
Work that costs between $500,000 and $1 million $532
Work that costs between $1 and $2 million $997
Work that costs between $2 and $5 million $1330
Work that costs over $5 million
$2660

Other fees

Type of application Fee
Application to transfer an AHIP $80
Application to surrender an AHIP $80

Application to vary an AHIP

  – minor changes
  – other variations

$80
$400