New Exemptions Under the Heritage Act

New exemptions have been gazetted under the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW).

For many owners and managers of heritage items, navigating the statutory planning and approval process can be complex.

Well here is some good news.

From 1 December 2020 new exemptions under the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW) came into force. If you are planning works to items listed on the State Heritage Register or subject to an Interim Heritage Order (IHO) you may not require approval under the Heritage Act. The new Standard Exemptions are for activities/works that do not impact the heritage significance of an item and support day to day management. Activities that have a minor impact may be suitable for a Section 60 Fast Track approval pathway.

Several more types of exemptions have been gazetted and allow work to take place without notification where the planned activities/works will not impact on the heritage significance of an item.

All exemptions are subject to General Conditions.

For instance:

  • All works carried out under the standard exemptions must be done by people with knowledge, skills and experience appropriate to the work.
  • The Heritage Manual and The Maintenance Series guidelines must be adhered to.
  • No removal of significant fabric is permitted.
  • All activities and actions that do not strictly fit within the exemptions will be subject to application and approval under section 60 of the Heritage Act.

Those that undertake activities under the exemptions are required to ensure records are created and kept for compliance and auditing purposes.

The new exemptions include activities such as:

  • alterations to interiors of non-significant buildings,
  • repair and replacement of non-significant services,
  • upgrade or installation of fire safety and alarm systems,
  • prescribed types of excavation or land disturbance,
  • painting of already painted fabric or painting of non-significant fabric,
  • the construction or installation of a temporary structure or structures, and
  • filming using a heritage item, and emergency situations and lifesaving.

The new exemptions can be viewed in the NSW Government Gazette.

Heritage NSW also includes up to date information to help owners and managers understand the new exemptions and the steps in the process.