|Defence is one of the largest landowners in Australia and has developed detailed arrangements to provide for the identification, assessment and management of heritage areas located on properties owned or occupied by the Defence:
“Defence’s heritage is Australia’s heritage and Defence is responsible for many important heritage sites. More than 200 of them are listed on the Register of the National Estate and a number of Defence properties are represented within places inscribed on the World Heritage List. To protect and manage these sites and properties, Defence recently established a Heritage Management Section. This Section develops policies and systems that strike a balance between Defence capability, the requirements of heritage bodies, legislation and the expectations of the Australian community. The first priority was to identify heritage assets owned and/ or controlled by Defence. The significance of these assets was then considered against standard heritage criteria and their importance to Defence.” (Department of Defence, 2003, p. 24)
There are several distinct sets of arrangements relevant to the protection and management of Indigenous heritage areas located on properties owned, occupied or used by the Department of Defence. In some cases areas of major heritage value are listed on the Register of the National Estate (administered by the Australian Heritage Council pursuant to the Australian Heritage Council Act 2004 (Cth)). Arrangements for the protection and maintenance of other areas of major significance to Indigenous heritage are the subject of Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) negotiated pursuant to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) - for further information on these regimes follow the links below.
Arrangements for the protection and management of areas of major significance to Indigenous heritage are integrated in individual Heritage Management Plans for each facility in accordance with the detailed requirements and procedures of the Defence Heritage Management Toolkit. (Department of Defence, 2008) The requirements and procedures of State- and Territory-based natural and cultural heritage protection regimes may also be relevant to the development and implementation of Heritage Management Plans. In order to achieve the objective of heritage protection and maintenance:
“Defence has put significant effort into improving relationships between Defence estate planners and the Australian Heritage Commission, State heritage authorities and related non-government organisations…
A Heritage Assets Register, which documents Defence owned and/ or controlled places listed on Commonwealth or state registers, has been completed.
The Defence Heritage Management Manual was released to guide estate planners and managers in the effective management of heritage sites.
A number of Heritage Management Plans continue to be developed and implemented…
A review of our Indigenous heritage issues has been completed.” (Department of Defence, 2003, p. 25)
The procedures to be followed in the development and implementation of Heritage Management Plans in each instance depends on the significance of heritage values and the nature and scale of proposed activities. The Defence Heritage Management Manual has been revised and consolidated by the Defence Heritage Management Toolkit. (Department of Defence, 2008) The Toolkit includes detailed procedures and templates for Heritage Assessment and the development and implementation of Heritage Management Plans (HMP) for individual properties, including the identification and management of potential risks to heritage values and the conduct of Heritage Impact Assessments for specific projects or activities. (Department of Defence, 2008, Guide 6, Annex A, B, C)
Indigenous heritage values are identified and managed in accordance with the requirements of guidelines formulated by the Australian Heritage Council (“Ask First – a guide to respecting indigenous heritage places and values”, 2002). “The HMP must include an Indigenous heritage inventory to relevant State [or Commonwealth] heritage agency standards including mapping of known sites and places, and areas where sites are likely to occur but have not been recorded.” (Department of Defence, 2008, Guide 6, Annex A)
The development and implementation of heritage management plans for specific properties, facilities and activities may also take place pursuant to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) and regulations (the EPBCA). Cultural heritage values are protected pursuant to ss. 26 and 28 of the EPBCA whether or not they are listed on the Register of the National Estate or World Heritage List.
“Under the ... [EPBCA] Defence must obtain approval from the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (Environment Minister) for any action that has, will have, or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment [including heritage values, as defined in s. 528] within or beyond Australia. Defence actions that are not likely to have a significant impact on the environment may still require internal Defence approval in the form of an Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC)…
ECCs can impose conditions that must be adhered to in the undertaking of the activity to ensure environmental impacts are removed or minimised. They are an internal Defence mechanism used to impose constraints and safeguards upon activities, to ensure Defence maintains its high level of environmental management and avoids risks to projects or activities.” (Department of Defence, 2008, Fact Sheet 1, p. 1)
Where an area of major significance to Indigenous heritage is located on a Defence property:
“The HMP must identify ongoing Indigenous heritage policy and management requirements to maintain Indigenous heritage values … [in accordance with Schedule 7A(h) of the regulations to the EPBCA];
Within the context of future Defence operational needs, identify acceptable land management uses for Indigenous sites and places and provide guidance for future planned and potential Defence development of the site;
The development of the HMP must demonstrate Indigenous stakeholder engagement throughout the project in accordance with ‘Ask First’ and, [to] the extent … practicable, document how the concerns of Indigenous stakeholders have been accounted for in the HMP.” (Department of Defence, Guide 6, Annex A)
Guide 8 of the Toolkit provides further guidelines for Indigenous cultural heritage protection and management. (Department of Defence, 2008) As the Defence Department is an agency of the Commonwealth Government, State and local government environmental and heritage legislation does not generally apply to areas vested in or the activities of the Department, however such laws are usually complied with to the extent they are not incompatible with Defence requirements and objectives.
In developing and implementing an HMP property managers may be assisted by the Regional Environmental Officer, personnel of the Defence Heritage and Biodiversity Conservation section and/ or Aboriginal Liaison personnel of the Department of Defence, a member of the Defence Environment and Heritage Panel (a panel of external consultants), and/ or the relevant land council, Native Title Representative Body, Indigenous Corporation(s) or Commonwealth, State or Territory Government heritage authority. (Department of Defence, 2008, Guide 8)|