Statutory Functions

The Statutory Functions the Aboriginal Heritage Council undertakes.

Council plays an important role in the implementation of the Act; its principal
functions are:

Making decisions on RAP applications

Since its establishment in 2006, Council has appointed 12 RAPs. Currently, there are 11 RAPs which collectively cover 74% of Victoria. RAPs are organisations that hold decision-making responsibilities for protecting Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in a specified geographical area.

Monitoring RAPs

The Council is responsible for overseeing and supervising the operations of RAPs. With RAPs themselves, Council undertakes a collaborative approach to this function. It has established a Legislative Review and Regulatory Functions Committee (LRRFC) with RAP members and a suite of processes and policies to support this work.

Protecting Ancestors’ resting places and returning Ancestors to Country

Council is the central coordinating body responsible for Ancestral Remains in Victoria. With the implementation of a new Ancestral Remains Policy and Repatriation Support Committee with RAPs, this fundamental work will strengthen the protection of Aboriginal burial places and deliver better support to Traditional Owners returning Ancestors to Country.

Secret (or Sacred) Objects in Victoria

Council is responsible for the care of Secret (or Sacred) Objects whilst they are returned to their Traditional Owners. Council’s custody of Objects is a profound responsibility to support Traditional Owners manage and retain their Cultural Heritage.

Managing the Victorian Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Fund (the Fund)

The Council is responsible for managing the Fund for initiatives to protect Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and to promote understanding and awareness of this unique heritage managed by Traditional Owners for all Victorians.

Measures to promote understanding and awareness

Council’s work includes promoting understanding and awareness of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Victoria. The Council achieves this through establishing partnerships and consulting with key rightsholders and stakeholders, making submissions to reviews of legislation, investigations and inquiries that impact on Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and participating in external committees and reference groups.