Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) administer the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 for a specific area of Victoria.
Their role can include:
- advice to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (the Minister), Secretary to the Department of Premier and Cabinet (the Secretary) and the Council on Aboriginal places or objects from the RAPs registered area
- advising the Minister about returning Aboriginal cultural heritage
- assessing Aboriginal cultural heritage permits and heritage management plans
- assessing Aboriginal cultural heritage agreements and land management agreements
- applying for interim and ongoing Aboriginal cultural heritage protection declarations
- providing general advice regarding Aboriginal cultural heritage
- advice on proposed amendments to planning schemes under the Planning and Environment Act 1987
- deciding what Aboriginal cultural heritage needs to be restricted information on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register
Check you're eligible
The following groups can apply to become a RAP:
- incorporated under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations Commonwealth Act 2006
- a registered Native Title Holder with a Native Title Agreement over the whole of the application area
- a traditional owner group entity with a recognition and settlement agreement, as part of the Victorian Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010
Registering more than one group for an area
More than one group can be registered as a RAP for the same area. Council will make sure having more than 1 group looking after an area won't impact on how the group carries out its functions.
Aboriginal Victoria's Right People for Country program can assist Traditional Owners to negotiate agreements between groups or within groups.
Council has 270 days to assess each application. You may be asked for further information to help progress your application.
This means the 270-day assessment period will restart once Council has received the information.
Applications to become a Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) need to be submitted in writing, as set out in the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2018.
Criteria for assessing applications
The following types of groups will automatically be registered as a RAP:
- A Native Title Holder with a Native Title Agreement over the whole application area
- Traditional Owner Group Entity
No other applicant can become a RAP for that area, except another registered native title holder for that area.
Other areas Council will consider when assessing applications:
- terms of any existing Native Title Agreements, if available
- whether the applicant represents the Traditional Owners of the area
- whether the applicant is a body representing Aboriginal people that have a historical or contemporary interest in Aboriginal cultural heritage relating to the area, and expertise in managing and protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage
- any land grants or land management agreements to which the applicant is a party in the area
- any other matter the council considers to be relevant
Council may be in contact with you or experts from the community to help assess your application.
Appealing a Council decision
If you're unhappy with a Council decision, you can contact Court Services Victoria. We recommend seeking legal advice before starting an application review.
For help with your application or to find out whether you're eligible for financial assistance with your application, contact the Aboriginal Victoria's Registered Aboriginal Party Support Officer: