Heritage Council of NSW

The Heritage Council of NSW is established under the NSW Heritage Act 1977. It is an independent statutory body that includes members of the community, the government, the conservation profession and representatives of professional organisations such as the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

Bushfire emergency update

The impact of the fires on the people and heritage of NSW is of great concern to the Heritage Council of NSW. The Council is actively working with Heritage NSW to develop ways of assisting owners and custodians of the State's heritage to recover from the fires, and to improve systems and guidelines for future fire episodes. In the meantime assistance is available from Heritage NSW main webpage or by contacting HERITAGEmailbox@environment.nsw.gov.au or phone 02 9873 8500.

The Heritage Council advises the Minister administering the Heritage Act 1977 on heritage matters in NSW and makes recommendations to the Minister for the listing of places and objects on the State Heritage Register. The Heritage Council also make decisions about the care and protection of heritage places and items that have been identified as being of State significance.

The role and functions of the Heritage Council of NSW are created by the Heritage Act 1977 and its membership reflects a cross-section of the community, government and the heritage industry.

The Heritage Council is appointed by the NSW Government to:

  • provide advice on heritage matters to the responsible Minister
  • recommend items of State significance for listing on the State Heritage Register
  • recommend the interim protection of potential heritage items so that an assessment of their significance can be made
  • determine proposed changes to items on the State Heritage Register to retain the items' heritage significance
  • advise the community on heritage.

The Heritage Council has delegated some of its decision making to Heritage Council committees. The role of the committees is to provide high-level specialist knowledge, skills and experience to assist the Heritage Council in making informed decisions. Some of the committees meet on a monthly basis, others meet as required.

To cut red tape and reduce assessment timeframes, the Heritage Council of NSW has delegated a range of regulatory functions to City of Sydney Council. The delegation applies to applications under the Heritage Act 1977 within the City of Sydney Local Government Area, and where the proposed works will not materially affect the heritage significance of the State heritage item.

The Heritage Council of NSW will continue to determine applications that impact state significant archaeology and historic shipwrecks. However, the Heritage Council of NSW will collaborate with the City of Sydney Council in the assessment and determination of applications which have a relatively minor archaeology component. The City of Sydney Council will not exercise delegation for archaeological exceptions (s139), or excavation permits (s140 or 144(b)).

Stage 1 of the implementation commenced on 28 January 2020; City of Sydney Council will undertake the full assessment of applications and provide recommendations to the Heritage Council of NSW for determination.

Stage 2 is expected to commence on 1 July 2020 and formally activate the delegated functions, i.e. City of Sydney will assess and determine applications under the Heritage Act 1977.

Please refer to our FAQ for information about stage 1 (PDF 93KB) of the implementation. Information about exclusions from this delegation is set out in our Excluded sites and State agency delegations fact sheet (PDF 90KB).

Contact us

Heritage Division

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee