Fact sheet - Registration of Aboriginal Parties

The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council registers Aboriginal parties under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.

Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council
May 2021
  • The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council registers Aboriginal parties (RAPs) under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. Council’s published Criteria for Assessing Applications, note the following appointment criteria:

    1. 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 (per the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010).
    2. No other applicant can become a RAP for that area, except another registered native title holder for that area.
    3. 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’s General Principles for RAP decision-making, to guide its consideration of RAP applications, are:

    • Council gives careful consideration to the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, having particular regard to the distinct cultural rights of Aboriginal persons recognised in sections 19 (2)(a) and 19(2)(d) of the Charter.
    • Council will give priority consideration to applications made by groups who represent Traditional Owners.
    • Where appropriate, the Council will move quickly to register the core Country of applicants representing Traditional Owners who have sufficient capacity to become a RAP.
    • Council will also give priority consideration to uncontested applications by other groups that meet the Act’s requirements and are supported by the Traditional Owners of the Country affected by the application.
    • Council may invite certain applicants to participate in regional meetings and mediations to resolve competing applications and overlapping boundaries.
    • Council wants to ensure groups recognised under Cultural Heritage laws as best as possible reflect those under native title arrangements.
    • Council encourages smaller groups to create sustainable RAP structures by working together to create a single RAP or to develop co-operative arrangements with other Aboriginal organisations.

Council is supported by a commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007. The Declaration supports the survival, dignity and wellbeing of Our People and is the foundation of Council’s work. Whilst the United Nations General Assembly adopted the significant Declaration in 2007, there is still much to be done in realising this commitment and Council calls for all Victorians to join it in affirming that;

“Indigenous Peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognising the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such.”

Download a free poster of the declaration

Reviewed 04 June 2021

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