Protection for Australia’s heritage places relies on land reservation, statutory heritage inventories and sound management, but also reactive heritage impact assessment processes. Our protected natural and cultural resources do not yet comprise an appropriate set of heritage places.
Australia’s heritage registers list natural and cultural places at national, state and local levels, but in an inconsistent manner and with disparate levels of resourcing and regulation. However, there has been progress towards more integrated, tiered systems of heritage management.
There is a nationally coordinated strategic approach to inclusion of representative lands within the National Reserve System and the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas, and an increasing trend towards strategic review of historic heritage registers and schedules.
Although the Australian Heritage Strategy proposes a consistent approach to the recognition, protection and management of Indigenous heritage sites, no mechanism is in place to establish a national approach and standards for assessment and protection of Indigenous heritage.
Progress has been made in determining the nature, purpose and scope of the National Heritage List. Substantial additional resources will be required to allow the National Heritage List to include and protect the places that reflect our identity as a nation, and tell our story.