Heritage in local planning

Identify key provisions for heritage in local planning schemes, strategies and policies, and the role of the heritage list.


Local government has a pivotal role to play in heritage conservation management, as most of Western Australia's cultural heritage places are significant at a local level. This role is fulfilled largely through local governments' urban planning function. Local government is also the decision-maker for the majority of development proposals, whether these relate to places of local or State significance.

The key mechanism in managing changes to State registered places is the referral of development applications to the Heritage Council, as required under the Heritage Act 2018. As decision-maker, the local government’s determination should be consistent with the Heritage Council’s advice, which will consider impacts on the heritage values of a place.

Local planning schemes

The ‘deemed provisions’ that form part of each local government’s local planning scheme contain provisions to support the consideration of heritage as part of the decision-making process. These include:

  • the requirement for local governments to adopt a heritage list
  • provisions for heritage areas and associated local planning policy
  • the ability to vary scheme provisions where this results in the conservation of a heritage place
  • a requirement for places in the heritage list to seek approval for development or demolition.

Decision-making may be supported by local planning policies for heritage, design guidelines, and/or State Planning Policy 3.5 - Historic heritage conservation.  

Useful publications

Page last reviewed 8 April 2021
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