Supporting Aboriginal cultural heritage

Our policies and procedures regarding Aboriginal cultural heritage
Last updated: 10 August 2023

We, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, recognise that land and water hold great spiritual significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We are committed to listening to, learning from, and building stronger partnerships with First Nations peoples and communities. 

Our ongoing review of policies and planning is informed by advice from the department’s Aboriginal Water and Environmental Advisory Group. The group aims to ensure that Aboriginal knowledge, values and needs are considered and appropriately addressed in the management and regulation of the state’s environment and water resources.

How we will support Aboriginal cultural heritage

We aim to ensure we properly and respectfully consider any potential impacts on Aboriginal cultural heritage when undertaking activities as part of our business. This includes activities like the monitoring and measurement of water resources, environmental assessments and water planning, and emergency clean-up and remediation.

During the assessment of licences, permits and authorisations that we administer, impacts on cultural heritage can be considered as part of the social surroundings during the decision-making process. In certain cases, proponents may receive requests for further information about this as part of our application processes.

Changes to Aboriginal cultural heritage legislation

On 8 August 2023, the Cook Government announced that the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 would be updated with important amendments following the repeal of the 2021 cultural heritage laws. 

We will ensure our policies, programs, planning documents and forms are compliant with the amended Aboriginal heritage legislation when it come into force. 

How to find more information

If you have specific queries on how cultural heritage considerations may affect your future applications, please email your questions to

Information on the amendments to the cultural heritage legislation is available through the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage