Potential new legislation governing heritage listed land in Western Australia

On 24 August 2016 State Minister for the Environment, Hon Albert Jacobs, introduced the Heritage Bill 2016 (WA) (Bill) to the Legislative Assembly which if it passes both houses of the Parliament, will replace the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 (WA) that is currently in force.

The Bill is an attempt to re-write in a clearer and more accessible manner, the law currently governing heritage listed places in WA, and is supported by the Heritage Council of Western Australia (Council).  The aim of the Bill is not to make drastic changes to the current process, but to make the framework clearer and streamline the process of a place becoming heritage registered. There has also been an effort to provide more guidance in the definition of ‘place’.

A change that the Bill proposes to make though, is the provision of a ‘repair order’ to be made by the Minister in relation to a registered property which is viewed as being in a state of neglect, if the Council has previously provided the owner with ‘repair notice’.  This is aimed at ensuring greater ability to protect heritage property from damage.  Under the current law there must first be a breach of a ‘conservation order’ made by the Minister before a ‘restoration order’ can be made to repair/restore a property.  The new law provides the Council with a more proactive role in protecting heritage property and provides the Minister with another option to ensure the a heritage place’s protection.

Before the Bill can become law it must continue through the lower house of Parliament and be passed by the upper house – a process in which alternations can be made to the Bill.

If the Bill progresses through Parliament and becomes enacted, Lavan Legal will provide a detailed publication on the changes to the law that will affect developer activities in relation to heritage sites.

If you have any questions about how the Bill if enacted could affect you, please contact Craig Wallace.

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.