Heritage asset management

State agencies manage the largest heritage property portfolio in NSW. This page outlines the services Heritage NSW and the Heritage Council of NSW provide to assist state agencies to manage and conserve these assets.

State agency heritage asset management

State agencies have responsibilities under Section 170 of the NSW Heritage Act 1977 to identify, conserve and manage their heritage assets. 

Agencies are required to keep a Heritage and Conversation Register that lists heritage significant assets they own, manage or care for.

The following publications assist agencies to meet their responsibilities.

State Owned Heritage Management Principles – guiding principles for managing heritage assets approved by the minister under Section 170A(2) of the Act.

Heritage Asset Management Guidelines – guidance for preparing a Heritage and Conservation Register and managing heritage assets. This guidance is issued by the Heritage Council of NSW and must be complied with under Section 170A(3) of the Act.

Together these documents form the State Agency Heritage Guide – Management of Heritage Assets by NSW Government Agencies

State agency heritage assets on the State Heritage Inventory (SHI)

The SHI is the Heritage NSW managed public database of cultural heritage in New South Wales.

Heritage and Conservation Registers must be prepared using the State Heritage Inventory Web App (SHI Web App) so that they can become publicly available as part of the State Heritage Inventory (SHI). Access to the SHI Web app is provided free to state agencies.

For more information and access email heritagemailbox@environment.nsw.gov.au.

Standard exemptions

Under section 57(2) of the Act, agencies are permitted to undertake works that support the day to day practical management of a heritage asset but do not impact heritage significance. Visit our standard exemptions page for more information.

State agency delegations, exemptions and exceptions

State agencies may apply to the Heritage Council of NSW to receive:

  • delegated functions under the Heritage Act 1977 (such as approval of some works)
  • an order for agency specific exemptions under s.57(2) of the Act which exempts them from having to seek an approval for specific low risk/impact activities
  • an order for agency specific exceptions under s.139 of the Act which is an exception from having to seek an excavation permit for Act which exempts them from having to seek an approval for specific low risk/impact activities.

Delegating Heritage Council approval functions and empowering agencies with orders:

  • allows agencies to be more efficient in self-managing the heritage assets they own or manage
  • creates efficiencies in heritage administration costs and timeframes
  • improves determination times by reducing the amount of applications the Heritage Council and Heritage NSW receive.

Agency specific delegations may be granted to agencies with appropriate in-house heritage expertise and procedures and resources in place to exercise the delegation appropriately. Delegation is for decisions up to the material affect threshold.

For more information contact Heritage NSW at heritagemailbox@environment.nsw.gov.au.

More information

Heritage NSW have a range of other resources to assist agencies conserve and manage their heritage assets.

About our heritage

Applications (for a permit or approval to do work)

Conservation Management Plans 

Repatriation of Aboriginal cultural material and remains

Technical information