Cultural heritage management plans

A cultural heritage management plan (CHMP) is a negotiated agreement between a land user (sponsor) and a traditional owner (endorsed party).

A CHMP recognises, protects and conserves Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage.

When the Land Court gets involved

The Land Court may become involved in a dispute about a CHMP in several ways:

  • After 28 days of the consultation period, a dispute is substantially delaying the development of a CHMP. At this point, a consultation party (sponsor or endorsed party) may ask the Land Court to provide mediation of the dispute.
  • The sponsor may refer a CHMP to the Land Court for approval if mediation is unsuccessful or the parties can’t reach agreement at the end of the consultation period.
  • Where there is no endorsed party, a sponsor may file an objection with the Land Court if the chief executive refuses to approve a CHMP.

To start a proceeding in the Land Court in any of the above cases, the relevant party files a Form 1 - Originating application (PDF, 855KB) and (DOC, 106KB) in the Land Court registry either:

  • in person at Level 8, Brisbane Magistrates Court building, 363 George Street, Brisbane
  • by post to The Registrar, Land Court of Queensland, GPO Box 5266, Brisbane Qld 4001.

What happens next

After an objection or referral is filed, the Land Court may ask the parties to attend mediation, conducted by a judicial registrar or member of the court.

If mediation is unsuccessful, the court may hold a hearing. All parties to the objection can be heard at the hearing and the court may help the parties negotiate changes to the CHMP at any time before making a recommendation.

The outcome

After the hearing, the Land Court makes a recommendation to the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines. The minister should receive the recommendation either within four months of the objection or referral being filed, or as otherwise advised.

If the objection relates to a refusal to record a CHMP, the court may recommend that:

  • the refusal be confirmed
  • the plan be approved
  • the plan be approved after amendment.

For a referral, the court may recommend that the minister:

  • refuse to approve the plan
  • approve the plan
  • approve the plan after amendment.

In making a recommendation, the court must consider the matters required by s. 118 of the Cultural Heritage Acts, including:

  • whether the CHMP provides well enough for managing the project to prevent or, where not reasonably avoidable, minimise damage to cultural heritage
  • if the plan was not reached voluntarily, whether the CHMP provides for effective alternative dispute resolution arrangements to deal with issues during operational stages
  • who is to become owner or have custody of any cultural heritage that is removed
  • the availability and quality of documented information about the cultural heritage significance of the plan area
  • the nature of the impacts of the project
  • submissions made by the parties
  • the nature and extent of the past uses of the project area.

The minister then makes the final decision whether to approve, amend or reject the CHMP. The minister has regard to the Land Court’s recommendation, but isn’t bound by it.