World Heritage properties and National Heritage places

The EPBC Act enhances the management and protection of Australia's heritage places, including World Heritage properties. It provides for the listing of natural, historic or Indigenous places that are of outstanding national heritage value to the Australian nation as well as heritage places on Commonwealth lands and waters or under Australian Government control.

A declared World Heritage property is an area that has been included in the World Heritage List or declared by the Minister to be a World Heritage property.

The National Heritage List includes natural, historic and Indigenous places of outstanding heritage value.

The Commonwealth Heritage List comprises natural, Indigenous and historic heritage places on Commonwealth lands and waters or under Australian Government control.

Once a heritage place is listed under the EPBC Act, special requirements come into force to ensure that the values of the place will be protected and conserved for future generations. The EPBC Act provides for the preparation of management plans which set out the significant heritage aspects of the place and how the values of the site will be managed.

The EPBC Act also establishes a List of Overseas Places of Historic Significance to Australia. This list provides for the symbolic recognition of sites of outstanding historic significance to Australia which are located outside of the Australian jurisdiction.

Protecting heritage properties

World heritage properties and national heritage places are recognised as a matter of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act. Consequently, any action that is likely to have a significant impact on heritage properties and places must be referred to the Minister and undergo an environmental assessment and approval process.