Aim of this Discussion Paper

This Discussion Paper seeks feedback from Victorian Aboriginal Peoples about their Cultural Heritage management.

As First Peoples, we know who we are in our identity and in how we choose to live our customs and traditions

Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council3

This Discussion Paper seeks feedback from Victorian Aboriginal Peoples about their Cultural Heritage management. It is part of the reporting mechanism in the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic) (AHA) - See Appendix 1 for information about the AHA. The AHA seeks to do this through the empowerment of Traditional Owners of Aboriginal Heritage to be protectors of their heritage by strengthening their spiritual, cultural, material and economic connection to it.

Every 5 years the Act requires a report on the State of Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (the Report). This is the first report developed by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council and will reflect on:

  1. What is Cultural Heritage?
  2. What rights do Aboriginal Peoples want to Cultural Heritage?
  3. How are Aboriginal Peoples able to exercise these rights to Cultural Heritage currently?
  4. What stops Aboriginal Peoples from exercising their rights?
  5. How well does the wider Victorian community understand Aboriginal Cultures?
  6. What is the vision for the future?

This Paper seeks to promote dialogue on the state of Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.

It is important that we are able to empower People in communities to let them talk about their experience and let them articulate what Cultural Heritage is   to them.

How to have your say

Your thoughts and feedback will provide the basis of a benchmark for where we are and where we can be in regard to protecting, managing and celebrating all Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Victoria. Through thinking and talking about this Discussion Paper, you can help shape the pathway for current and future Traditional Owners to live their Culture through real and tangible ownership of their Country and management of Cultural Heritage.

Council is a body of Traditional Owners and we understand the sensitivities and hesitancies in providing feedback on a Discussion Paper such as this. We are not Government and we are not producing another document to sit on a shelf. We know what our mob think but we want to know what your mob think. Together, we can tell the world that these are the problems and the successes of how we manage Cultural Heritage in 2021 but that this is our vision of what our lived ownership of Culture and Country will be in 2026.

In working together with a shared vision, we can change the laws that should support us to manage and protect our Culture, the oldest living Culture on earth.

We would like to hear from Victoria’s Aboriginal Peoples and those individuals and organisations working with Victoria’s Aboriginal Peoples about the state of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Victoria. 

You can do this by responding to the questions above and throughout this Discussion Paper by:

  • visiting the VAHC website
  • completing a survey on the above web page
  • attending a consultation meeting to be held in Melbourne on February 11, 2021
  • emailing your feedback to
  • phoning Laura Curtis or Anika Valenti from Terri Janke and Company on (02) 9693 2577

While each section of this Discussion Paper asks one main question, we have included additional questions to prompt discussion. You do not need to answer all the questions if you do not want to. 

Please submit your responses to the Discussion Paper by 30 April 2021

A state-wide consultation will be conducted with key stakeholders and written submissions for the Report will be accepted to assist the critical analysis of the state of Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage laws. The final Report on the State of Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage 2016-2021 is intended to be finalised by the end of  August 2021.