Recommendation Six: Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council name change

Realising self-determined ownership of our Culture, Heritage, History and Country 2021

“It’s only because we’re blackfellas that they don’t call us an Authority. Scared we’ll take the hills hoist out from under’em.”


Council’s identity as a Victorian statutory authority is compromised when neither ‘Victorian’ nor ‘Authority’ are in its name.


Council is established under the Act as a body corporate with a range of statutory functions. Whilst the membership and responsibilities of the Council are Victorian, the omission of ‘Victorian’ from Council’s statutory name creates an issue of establishing identity.


That the Act be amended to redefine Council and the body corporate structure of Council as separate but related functions.

The body corporate should be changed from the ‘Aboriginal Heritage Council’ to the ‘Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Authority’. The existing Council would be renamed as the ‘Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council’ and become the Authority’s governing body. This amendment better reflects the scope of operational, and not merely advisory, functions of Council and makes clear that not all these functions under the Act are to be undertaken by Council members personally.


The insertion of “Victorian” in the title makes clear the Authority’s scope of operations in an area jointly regulated by the Commonwealth and the State. Whilst the use of “Authority” identifies Council’s statutory responsibilities and is consistent with other similar agencies such as the Environment Protection Authority and the Victorian WorkCover Authority.

UNDRIP and Best Practice Standards


This recommendation should be considered in relation to Article 33:

“Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.”

Best practice standards in Indigenous cultural heritage management

This recommendation should be considered in relation to Best Practice Standard 5 - Incorporation of principles of self-determination:

“The affected Indigenous Community itself should be the ultimate arbiter of the management of the Indigenous Cultural Heritage (ICH) aspects of any proposal that will affect that heritage.”