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Heritage Listings Explained

Cultural heritage places in WA are recorded in many different heritage listings.

Some of these listings give statutory protection to heritage places, through requirements for heritage-related approvals or referrals.  Other listings are unofficial or quasi-official designations, often arising from local, community-based or thematic surveys.

inHerit sorts these lists for you automatically into groups:

  •  Statutory Listings – lists and other legal instruments that affect or may affect the use and development of land and buildings
  • Other Listings and Surveys – lists that do not have any effect on the use and development of land and buildings.

The main listings to be aware of are summarised below:

Statutory Listings

Organisation legislation What is listed
No of places listed (approx)
State Register
Heritage Council (assisted by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH))
Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990
Places of State significance included in the State Register of Heritage Places
Conservation Order
Heritage Council (assisted by DPLH) Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 Places of State significance or potential State significance (special cases)
Heritage Agreement
Heritage Council (assisted by DPLH) Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 Places protected by long-term agreement between the parties
Heritage List
Local Governments
Planning & Development Act (2005); Local Planning Schemes
Places of local heritage significance
National Heritage List
Australian Heritage Council
Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999)
Places of national significance

Other Listings and Surveys

organisation legislation what is listed
no of places listed (approx)
Local Government Inventory (Municipal Inventory)
Local Governments
Mandated under the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 but controlled by Local Governments
Places of local significance
List of Classified Places
The National Trust of Australia (WA)
The National Trust of Australia (WA) Act (1964)
Places of local, state or national significance

Further details of each of those Listing Types are as follows.

Statutory Listings 

State Register (Heritage Council)

The Heritage Council is the State Government’s advisory body on historic heritage matters. It encourages the conservation and sensitive development of heritage places and promotes awareness of our State’s cultural heritage. The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage maintains the State Register of Heritage Places.

Planning, building, demolition and other applications affecting a place in the State Register are referred by the relevant decision making authority (usually a Local Government) to the Heritage Council for advice.

Conservation Order

A Conservation Order is an ongoing protective order that remains in effect indefinitely, unless an end-date is specified.  It requires public consultation before the Minister may issue an order.  Conservation Orders are rare: they are employed only where urgent protective measures are required, or in other special circumstances where entry in the State Register cannot offer suitable protection.

Heritage Agreement

A Heritage Agreement is a legally binding contract that sets out a framework for the long-term conservation and maintenance of a place.

Local Planning Scheme – ‘Heritage List’ (Local Government )

Many local governments have established a list of heritage places under the provisions of the local planning scheme. Weight is given to the heritage significance of these places when planning applications are submitted.

Local Planning Scheme Heritage Lists typically comprise all or, or a subset of, the Local Government Inventory.

National Heritage List

The National Heritage List is a list of places deemed to be of outstanding heritage significance to Australia.

The Australian Heritage Council is an independent body of heritage experts that advises the Australian Government on heritage matters, and assesses places nominated for the National Heritage List.

Other Listings & Surveys

Local Government Inventory (also known as a ‘Municipal’ Inventory)

A local government inventory is essentially a survey of heritage places in the local district, and is used as the basis of informed local conservation strategies.  The purposes of an inventory can be summarised as:

  • to provide a cultural and historic record of the local district
  • to determine local government conservation policies
  • to provide information about local heritage that may be required under a local planning scheme for that district.

To find out more, see our Local Government pages.

List of Classified Places

This list is maintained by the National Trust of Australia (WA), a non-profit, community-based organisation involved in heritage identification, education, promotion, interpretation, advocacy and management of heritage sites across WA.  To visit the National Trust of Australia (WA) website, click here.


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