About the Australian Heritage Council

The Australian Heritage Council is a body of heritage experts established by the Australian Heritage Council Act 2003. The Council replaced the Australian Heritage Commission as the Australian Government's independent expert advisory body on heritage matters when the new Commonwealth heritage system was introduced in 2004 under amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Council members

Five distinguished Australians appointed to Australian Heritage Council

The Chairman, six other members and up to two associate members are all appointed by the Minister. The Chairman must have substantial experience or expertise concerning heritage while two members must be similarly qualified in natural heritage, two in historic heritage and two must be Indigenous persons with substantial experience or expertise in Indigenous heritage, at least one of who must represent the interests of Indigenous people. An associate member must have expertise in any one of these areas.

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The Hon Professor Carmen Lawrence (Chair)

The Hon Professor Carmen Lawrence

Professor Lawrence is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Change in the School of Psychology at the University of Western Australia. After training as a research psychologist at the University of Western Australia and lecturing in a number of Australian universities, Professor Lawrence entered politics in 1986, serving at both state and federal levels for 21 years. She was at various times W.A Minister for Education and Aboriginal affairs and was the first woman Premier and Treasurer of a state government. She shifted to federal politics in 1994 when she was elected as the Member for Fremantle and was appointed Minister for Health and Human Services and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women. Professor Lawrence held various portfolios in Opposition, including Indigenous Affairs, Arts and Heritage, Environment, Industry and Innovation and was the first popularly elected national President of the Labor Party in 2004. She retired from politics in 2007.

Associate Professor Don Garden (Historic heritage expert)

Associate Professor Don Garden

Associate Professor Don Garden is President of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and the Federation of Australian Historical Societies. He has a Ph.D., from the University of Melbourne and a Masters and Bachelor of Arts from Monash University. He is Principal Fellow with the Department of Resource Management and Geography at the University of Melbourne and Adjunct Associate Professor with the University of New England, NSW. Dr Garden is Vice President of the Kew Historical Society, and Panel Member of the Community Reference Group, Victorian Environmental Assessment Council. He taught History and Environmental History at the University of Melbourne for many years, and is the author of seventeen books.

Dr Jane Harrington (Historic heritage expert)

Dr Jane Harrington

Dr Jane Harrington is Director of Conservation and Infrastructure with the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority. She has a Ph.D. in Cultural Heritage from James Cook University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne. She is an Adjunct Professor to Deakin University. Current Board memberships include Willow Court Special Conservation Committee, Australian World Heritage Advisory Committee, Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Steering Committee, and membership secretary to the ICOMOS International Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Hon Dr David Kemp (Natural heritage expert)

Dr David Kemp

Dr David Kemp from 2001-2004 was Minister for the Environment and a member of the Sustainable Environment Committee of Cabinet; Joint Chair of the Ministerial Board of the Natural Heritage Trust; Chair of the Environment Protection and Heritage Ministerial Council; Chair of the World Heritage Ministerial Council; and Minister responsible for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. He was Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs from 1998-2001 and Member for Goldstein from 1990-2004. He has a BA and Bachelor of Law from Melbourne University and a Ph.D. from Yale. His current Board Memberships include the Grattan Institute for Public Policy; Victorian Scottish Heritage Cultural Foundation; Virginia Chadwick Memorial Foundation; the Council of Melbourne University, and the Council of Scotch College, Melbourne (Chair). Formerly, he was member of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO.

Mr Lyndon Ormond-Parker (Indigenous heritage expert)

Mr Lyndon Ormond-Parker

Mr Lyndon Ormond-Parker is an Australian Research Council - Research Fellow in the Indigenous Studies Unit, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and the Global Health, The University of Melbourne. Lyndon has over 15 years experience working for and closely with Aboriginal communities and organisations on cultural heritage, preservation and conservation projects. He was a visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, working on cataloguing and documenting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander human remains and material culture in universities, museums and hospital collections and assisting Aboriginal communities with the repatriation of human remains and cultural objects. His recent research focuses on the development of information technology applications for the long-term preservation of Aboriginal culture heritage and languages and co-editing of an e-book Information Technology and Indigenous Communities. He is a member of numerous Advisory Committees including: National Centre for Indigenous Genomics, Australian National University; Indigenous Cultural Collections Advisory Group, University of Melbourne; Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics, Monash University; and, Council Member of the World Archaeological Congress (1997-2003 & 2008-2012).

Ms Rachel Perkins (Indigenous heritage expert)

Photo: Leon Mead

Ms Rachel Perkins is Director of Blackfella Films Pty Ltd where she is Film Maker, Film Curator and Festival Director. Previously she was Executive Producer of Indigenous Programs with ABC and SBS Television. She has Australian Film Television and Radio School qualifications in Producing Extension, and completed a three year Traineeship with Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association. She is currently Chairperson of the Charles Perkins Trust, a member of the AIATSIS Council and the inaugural AIATIS Foundation President. Former Board appointments include Screen Australia, the Australian Film Commission, and Fellow of the University of Sydney Senate. Rachel is from the Arrernte and Kalkadoon people.

Dr Jennie Whinam (Natural heritage expert)

Dr Jennifer Whinam

Dr Jennifer (Jennie) Whinam has worked as a Senior Ecologist in Tasmania's World Heritage Areas with the Department of Primary Industries, Parks Water & Environment for the past 25 years. She has authored and co-authored numerous publications related to botany, ecology and conservation management and is a recognised expert in the ecology of Australia's alpine regions, Sphagnum peatlands and Subantarctic islands. She has worked in international and national research posts, including past Chair of the International Mire Conservation Group and Visiting Researcher with the French Polar Institute. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Australian National University and is Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Tasmania.

Council media releases

Roles of the Australian Heritage Council

The Council plays a key role in assessment, advice and policy formulation and support of major heritage programs. Its main responsibilities are to:

  • assess places for the National Heritage List and the Commonwealth Heritage List
  • nominate places for inclusion in the National Heritage List or Commonwealth Heritage List
  • promote the identification, assessment, conservation and monitoring of heritage
  • advise the Minister on various heritage matters including the preparation and amendment of heritage strategies and management plans for Commonwealth areas and agencies.