The Heritage Act 2004 (ACT) (Act) is the primary legislation in the ACT that protects Indigenous heritage. The Act deals with the protection of Aboriginal, non-Indigenous and natural heritage, as well as Aboriginal objects and places.
The Act is managed by the Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction (Minister), with support from the ACT Heritage Council (Council) and ACT Heritage (part of the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate).
The Act protects the following:
- Aboriginal objects – objects associated with Aboriginal people because of Aboriginal tradition and;
- Aboriginal places – places associated with Aboriginal people because of Aboriginal tradition.
Aboriginal tradition is defined to mean customs, rituals, institutions, beliefs or general way of life of Aboriginal people (s.9).