Defining & Managing Heritage Assets

Heritage assets embrace many forms

Gundagai Prince Alfred Bridge. Demolished by NSW Govt 2021 (ABC)

Tangible and intangible heritage assets may co-exist and are holistically intertwined and complementary. Nationally listed, have significance to all Australians. They require protection and conservation into posterity.

Tangible heritage: physical artefacts and other products of human creativity. They may include artistic creations, technological structures, built form heritage such as buildings and monuments, Indigenous spaces and objects, formations and items invested with cultural and technological significance; objects such as maritime vessels, wrecks and infrastructure; other built-form structures, rare books, audio visual or mixed media creations and ephemera. All of these may be produced and maintained inter-generationally.

Intangible heritage: refers to practices, representations, knowledge, skills as well objects including instruments, artefacts and cultural spaces associated with or recognised by communities, groups or individuals as part of their cultural heritage) e.g. oral traditions, indigenous cultural knowledge, performing arts, ceremonies, spiritual associations, local knowledge and traditional skills.  (UNESCO, 2003)

Environmental heritage assets include wilderness, culturally significant landscapes or seascapes, flora, faunas, archaeological sites with or without evidence of human presence.

AHAA recognises the importance of Indigenous assets to their communities. Although such unique heritage assets are respected and valued by all citizens, protection, preservation and conservation of these assets must be guided by the views of Indigenous communities

Custodianship & Ownership

Heritage assets belong to all Australians. Individual or group ‘ownership’ does not negate the reality that the cultural, economic and social ‘value’ of heritage assets is shared by, and connected to, all citizens throughout the Australian federation. 

Federal and State governments have a responsibility to preserve and care for our Heritage Assets into the future .

Nationally consistent Heritage policies to protect, fund and preserve our national heritage assets is essential. Consistent heritage policies are fundamental to safeguard our heritage assets.  

Devolution & Federal Responsibility

In recent decades the persistent political agenda in relation to national heritage assets has been to persistently ‘cost-shift’ under the guise of devolving responsibility for the management of heritage assets, thereby subjecting heritage assets management to the vagaries of the State legislative differences, political pork-barrelling or manoeuvring to satisfy powerful interest groups (e.g. mining, extractive industries, developers).

Register Your Interest

Register to become part of the Australian Heritage Advocacy Alliance – simply email your contact details to: