Heritage Listings FAQ
What are the types of heritage listing in Western Australia?
In WA, there are two levels of statutory (legal) heritage listings; a state heritage listing and a local heritage listing. When a place has been ‘state heritage listed’, this means it has been entered onto the State Register of Heritage Places. A local heritage listing means a place is on the Local Heritage Survey or Heritage List of the relevant Local Government (your Shire or Council).
A place can be both state heritage listed and locally heritage listed, or it can only have one listing. Other listings, such as a National Trust Classification or listing on the Register of the National Estate, do not carry any legal implications. These listings are a recognition of heritage value.
What does a State Heritage listing mean?
As per the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, ‘The State Register of Heritage Places is a statutory list of places that represent the story of Western Australia’s history and development. Places included in the State Register include buildings, structures, gardens, cemeteries, memorials, landscapes and archaeological sites.
Entry on the Register is reserved for places of state cultural heritage significance and is the highest recognition afforded at the State level. Heritage places are entered on the State Register after an assessment and registration process which includes extensive consultation with owners, local governments and other stakeholders.
What does a Local Government listing mean?
Under the Heritage Act 2018, each Local Government is required to have a Local Heritage Survey (formerly known as a Heritage Inventory or Municipal Inventory). This survey identifies places in the municipal area that are of heritage significance. Places on these lists are assigned a category depending on their assessed significance with category 1 (or A) having the highest level of significance and category 4 (or D) having the lowest. Places that are assessed to be category 1 or 2 (or A or B) are then placed onto the Local Government’s Heritage List.
Places on the Local Heritage Survey or Heritage List have a ‘local heritage listing’, meaning they are important to the history of the municipal area.
How can I see if a place is heritage listed?
To see if a place is heritage listed, you will need to search the inHerit database, which can be accessed here: http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/.
As per the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, inHerit is a one-stop portal for information about heritage places and listings in Western Australia. inHerit contains detailed information about cultural heritage places entered in the State Register of Heritage Places, Local Government inventories, the Australian Government heritage list, and other lists and surveys.
Enter the relevant information to start your search. You are able to search by street name, but you are not able to search by street number or lot number, as these have changed over time with development and urbanisation.
Once you click on search, you will be shown a map and a summary of information. You can zoom on the map or scroll down the page to see the list of places.
Places that are entered on the State Register of Heritage Places, are shaded in red and feature the Heritage Council logo, followed by the text ‘State Registered Place’. Places that have a local heritage listing, feature the logo of the relevant Local Government, followed by the name of the Local Government. Click onto the ‘State Registered Place’ text or the text of the Local Government name to see further information on the place.
For search tips visit: https://www.wa.gov.au/system/files/2021-05/HER-inHerit-search-tips-2019.pdf.
What do I do?
The cultural heritage significance of the place must be respected but this does not mean that a place cannot be changed to meet contemporary needs.
If you are planning to undertake works to a place that is on the State Register of Heritage Places, it is recommended you discuss the proposed works with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. Generally minor works such as maintenance do not require a development application, but works such as alterations, additions, demolition, subdivision, re-roofing, changes to exterior colour schemes, interior works, signage etc., should be referred.
When you have your plans in place, a development application will need to be submitted to your Local Government (or for certain sites to the WA Planning Commission). Your Local Government will refer this development application to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. In most cases, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage will deal with the referral on behalf of the Heritage Council however, major or sensitive developments are dealt with directly by the Heritage Council.
You may receive a list of conditions associated with the approval of the development application. These conditions must be met before a building permit can be issued.
For more information, visit: How to develop and maintain heritage places | Western Australian Government (www.wa.gov.au).
I want to do development works to my property and it is on my Local Government’s Local Heritage Survey and/or Heritage List, what do I do?
If you are planning to undertake works to your place, you should first discuss these with your Local Government who can advise you of any planning policies regarding heritage conservation that may be relevant. You should check whether your property is on the Local Heritage Survey or on the Heritage List as there are different requirements dependent on this classification.
If your place is on your Local Government’s Heritage List, under the Planning and Development Act 2005, you are required to submit a development application for works such as additions, alterations, demolitions etc. Each local government can have their own policy regarding Heritage Conservation, so it is up to that Local Government as to what is allowed/approved for these places, or what conditions may be associated with approval. Places that are on the Local Heritage Survey but NOT on the Heritage List generally do not require a development application to be submitted (assuming all other planning requirements are met) however, this is dependent on the heritage planning policies of your Local Government.
Before undertaking any works, ensure you abide by all other relevant planning requirements as determined by your Local Government.
I have further questions about my place and the heritage listing, who should I talk to?
If your property is on the State Register of Heritage Places, you should contact the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage to discuss further: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-planning-lands-and-heritage.
If your property is on your Local Government’s Heritage List or Local Heritage Survey, contact your Local Government’s Heritage and/or Planning team to discuss further.
My place has a National Trust Classification, what does this mean?
If your place has been classified by the National Trust, it is on the List of Classified Places. The National Trust has been adding places to the Classified List since 1960s and it includes buildings, precincts, cemeteries, natural landscapes, geological monuments, historic sites, railways vehicles etc. There are currently over 1800 Classified items on the list, and it is continually growing.
The National Trust’s Classified List provides a record of places with heritage value in Western Australia. Classification has no legal status and does not impinge on rights of ownership in any way (i.e, you do not need approval from the National Trust to undertake works or development to your property); it is simply a recognition of heritage values.
If you would like to nominate your place for Classification or see if your place is on the List of Classified Places, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.