Making Sense of ‘Material Threshold Policy’ in NSW

Ever turned your mind to what ‘material effect’ means in the context of State Heritage Register listed places in NSW? 

In February 2020, Heritage NSW released a Material Threshold Policy. The policy provides guidance for property owners, managers, consultants and others when considering proposals and assessing the degree of impact to State Heritage Register listed places.

Material effect is triggered by the nature and degree of the impact on the heritage significance of a State heritage listed item.  The material threshold is reached, or triggered, by a major adverse impact on the State heritage significance of an item.  Adverse impacts occur when listed heritage values are impacted to the degree that the place can no longer demonstrate the significant heritage values and the values are irrecoverably lost.  Some examples of major adverse impacts might include removal of significant features, obstructing key views or removing associations that are historically important.

Much change can be managed and mitigated to conserve and enhance heritage significance.  For change to be below the material threshold the adverse impacts must be assessed as minor or moderate.  If you are the manager or owner of a State heritage listed item, it is worth reading the policy as it provides important insight into the assessment process and the matters considered by assessors.   At GML our independent advice on change and development to heritage places can help reduce the risk of non-compliance and ensure that potentially adverse material impacts are mitigated.