Important note: please read

The information provided below only provides a quick overview of a complex issue. Please visit the WA Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) website for more information or contact DPLH's Aboriginal Heritage Operations on 6551 8002 or email AboriginalHeritage@dplh.wa.gov.au

Approval requirements

Some areas or places are protected as significant cultural sites under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. You need written approval for any work or disturbance within the boundary of a registered Aboriginal heritage site.

Some activities that may need approval within the boundaries of an Aboriginal heritage site include:

  • Establishing or maintaining firebreaks
  • Undertaking cool burns for fuel reduction
  • Removing plants, including non-native trees or other weeds
  • Digging holes to plant seedlings
  • Moving rocks or logs
  • Grazing animals.

A register of Aboriginal heritage sites is maintained by the WA Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH). There are online maps that can be viewed through DPLH’s Aboriginal Heritage Inquiry System.

If you have an Aboriginal heritage site on your property, the activities listed above, and other activities, are still possible within the site. however, you need to get written approval first.

DPLH publish the following guidelines describing activities that cause different levels of impact.

Aboriginal Heritage Due Diligence Guidelines

Approval for minor work in an Aboriginal Heritage Site

Minor or urgent works may be approved within one or two weeks under a ‘Regulation 10’ through correspondence with DPLH officers. These are written approvals for activities like those noted above, listed in Regulation 10 of the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 1974.

A description of the proposed works can be emailed to AboriginalHeritage@dplh.wa.gov.au with a plan showing which part of the site would be affected. Include a phone number in case a Heritage Officer needs to contact you to clarify what is proposed or ask for modified plans.

Approval for other work in an Aboriginal Heritage Site

More significant development or work not listed under Regulation 10 may need a ‘Section 18’ approval under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. This is in addition to any other approvals that are required under other laws, such as planning approval or clearing permits.

The ‘Section 18’ is a more comprehensive assessment process and much more information is required, as well as consultation with relevant Traditional Owners. If you need to engage someone to help you with this process, heritage consultants are often familiar with the requirements. The Aboriginal Heritage Operations section at DPLH can provide a list of names and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) may also assist.

Wooroloo Brook (Site 37000)

The boundaries of the Wooroloo Brook Aboriginal heritage site were re-mapped in 2021 to reduce the ‘buffer’ along the watercourse. The current boundary can be checked using the Aboriginal Heritage Inquiry System

While disturbance of the watercourse site should be kept to a minimum, some rural and bushfire safety related activities can be permitted by DPLH officers under Regulation 10. This can include removing weeds and dead vegetation and maintaining firebreaks.

If you have a Fuel Load Management Plan drawn up with assistance of the Shire’s Fire Hazard Inspection Officers, this can be submitted with your request. If the plan shows work (such as firebreaks, weed removal and sedge replacement planting) over several years you might need to submit the plan each time, with the specific upcoming work highlighted.

If your plans include clearing of native vegetation or works near a watercourse it may also require planning approval from the Shire. You can phone the Shire’s Planning and Environment Service on 9290 6740.

More information and contact

For more information or assistance please contact the Shire on 9290 6666 or email shire@mundaring.wa.gov.au