NPWS fire personnel hosing flames at Coonabarabran v3. Credit Phillip Tattersall DPIE

NPWS fire personnel hosing flames at Coonabarabran. Credit: Phillip Tattersall DPIE

20. Emergency situations and lifesaving

Emergency situations and lifesaving

This exemption is for activities/works required immediately in an emergency.

Emergencies may be natural or man-made. They are serious, unexpected and often dangerous situations requiring immediate action. The nature of the emergency will vary the type of risk to life, the environment and nature of on-site damage to a heritage item/place.

Incidents likely to cause serious damage and require actions necessary to save or protect life could include:

  • an uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage,
  • an uncontrol implosion, explosion or fire,
  • exposed live electrical parts,
  • collision or fall of something,
  • collapse or partial collapse of a structure or plant (for example a crane or shoring supporting an excavation).

This exemption permits people on site and emergency personnel to do what is necessary to save or protect human life and/or secure the safety of a ship, the environment or a heritage item endangered by an incident such as those listed above.

Standard Exemption 20. Emergency situations and lifesaving

General conditions (see page 6 of Government Gazette) apply to the use of all Standard Exemptions and must be complied with. 

The following specified activities/works to an item do not require approval under subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 if the specified activities/works are undertaken in accordance with each of the relevant standards prescribed below.

Specified activities/works:

  1. Any activities/works that would be in contravention of subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 that is solely for the purpose of:
    1. saving or protecting human life under imminent threat in an emergency.
    2. securing the safety of a ship endangered by stress of weather or navigational hazards.
    3. dealing with an emergency involving serious threat to the environment.
    4. preventing imminent serious damage to property or any heritage item in an emergency.

Relevant standards:

  1. The activities/works must have been immediately necessary for the identified purposes.
  2. The activities/works were reasonable and justifiable in the circumstances.
  3. The activities/works were proportionate to the damage the item has suffered and to the risk of further damage. The effects of the activities/works must be adequately mitigated or remedied.