Batavia (1629) Western Australia.
Source: Western Australian Museum
The review is primarily concerned with the operation of the Act and the extent to which the intent of the Act is being achieved. The review will also look at how human remains of those lost in shipwrecks are treated and whether the Act should be extended to cover other underwater archaeological sites and relics. The review will also look at other legislative mechanisms that could enable Australia to ratify the UNESCO 2001 Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
While the process of considering ratification is separate to that of reviewing the Act, both issues are closely related. This review is therefore considering whether the Act should be amended having regard to both the Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention and International best practice.
The review will be conducted according to the terms of reference.
Secretariat for the review
The Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts is providing secretariat support for the review.
Questions about the review can be directed to the Secretariat: HSreview@environment.gov.au
Background to the review
The Historic Shipwreck Act 1976 (the Act) commenced on 15 December 1976. The legislation is currently 33 years old and does not protect other forms of underwater archaeology such as planes. The Act also has outdated compliance and enforcement mechanisms which need to be updated to meet best practice cultural heritage management requirements.
- Australian National Maritime Museum
- Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology
- Devonport Maritime Museum
- Maritime Archaeology Association of Victoria
- Maritime Archaeological Association of Queensland
- Maritime Archaeological Association of WA
- Norfolk Island Museum
- Southern Ocean Exploration
- The Sydney Project
Links to another web site
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