A common misconception is that heritage places can only be kept as ‘mini-museums', to be looked at but not used. This is not the case. Adaptive re-use is encouraged.
In general, changes are permitted as long as they do not damage or irreversibly alter the fabric of a place.
The Heritage Act makes it clear that there are three categories of work:
If you are considering carrying out work to your heritage-listed property, you should contact the Heritage Branch for advice. An application form for carrying out work can be downloaded here. Works Application Form (word version) | (pdf version).
Exempt work is set out in the Heritage Regulations.
The Burra Charter is an important reference document, and it is expected that you will follow the procedures and principles set out in the Burra Charter when you are considering carrying out work to your heritage-listed property. The Burra Charter supports a cautious approach, and says that you should “do as much as is necessary but as little as possible.”
The Department decides whether work is minor or major. There is no foolproof definition, but if the Department considers that a decision in relation to proposed work to a heritage place is likely to generate any controversy or concern, on behalf of the owner or another legitimate stakeholder, or in the eyes of the public – then the work application will be dealt with by the Minister.
A range of incentives is in place to encourage the conservation of privately-owned heritage places.
View further information about the NT Heritage Grants Program.
If you live in a heritage-listed property that is used for residential purposes, you may apply to be reimbursed for 75% of rates paid; for properties used for non-residential purposes, the figure is 25%. For more detail, view the Rates Relief Policy.
You may also be eligible to receive free professional advice from a conservation expert. For further information, contact the Heritage Branch on (08) 8999 5039.