Queen Victoria Building Sydney

Queen Victoria Building - Maruschka Loupis

NSW Heritage Act review

In October 2021, the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues published the report of their inquiry into the Heritage Act 1977. The Government Response to the report has now been released. Read more about the next steps.

The NSW Government has reviewed the NSW Heritage Act 1977 to determine how heritage can be better managed and protected in NSW.

At the request of the Government, the Legislative Assembly's Social Issues Standing Committee commenced a review of the Heritage Act in May 2021, with a public submissions period closing on 4 July 2021.

The Standing Committee published their report to the government on 22 October 2021. The Government Response was released on 10 December 2021.

The inquiry (the review) looked at the effectiveness of the Heritage Act and the NSW heritage regulatory system, along with heritage aspects of the Environmental Protection and Assessment Act 1979. The Standing Committee review provided an opportunity for all key stakeholders and the broader community to have their say on government heritage policy, through over 300 public submissions and through five days of public hearings.

While noting that the intent of the Heritage Act is generally sound, the Standing Committee recommended 26 reforms to improve the operation of the Heritage Act and system more widely, to be more responsive to the needs of heritage owners and to deliver improved heritage conservation outcomes.

The Government response supports in full or in principle 25 out of 26 of the Committee’s recommendations.

Next steps

To respond to the recommendations of the Standing Committee, the Government will commence drafting a Heritage Bill to amend the current Act, which will undergo further consultation. 

Why is the Act being reviewed?

The NSW Heritage Act 1977 was first introduced over forty years ago. The Act had not been reviewed since 2007 and there have been no major reforms since 1999.

The purpose of the review was to see how NSW can deliver more effective, relevant, and best-practice ways of recognising, conserving, re-using and celebrating the important heritage of NSW. The findings of the review have directly contributed to the evidence base for legislative reform.

Discussion paper

To encourage public discussion and community input, in April 2021 the NSW Government published a discussion paper. The discussion paper reflects on the current heritage system, considers some alternatives and poses some questions to assist with public consultation.

More information

If you would like to make a written inquiry to Heritage NSW, please email us at Heritage.Policy2@environment.nsw.gov.au