About the Australian Heritage Council

The Australian Heritage Council is a body of heritage experts established by the Australian Heritage Council Act 2003. The Council replaced the Australian Heritage Commission as the Australian Government's independent expert advisory body on heritage matters when the new Commonwealth heritage system was introduced in 2004 under amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Council members

Five distinguished Australians appointed to Australian Heritage Council

The Chairman, six other members and up to two associate members are all appointed by the Minister. The Chairman must have substantial experience or expertise concerning heritage while two members must be similarly qualified in natural heritage, two in historic heritage and two must be Indigenous persons with substantial experience or expertise in Indigenous heritage, at least one of who must represent the interests of Indigenous people. An associate member must have expertise in any one of these areas.

The Hon Professor Carmen Lawrence (Chair)

Professor Carmen Lawrence

Professor Lawrence is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Change in the School of Psychology at the University of Western Australia. After training as a research psychologist at the University of Western Australia and lecturing in a number of Australian universities, Professor Lawrence entered politics in 1986, serving at both State and Federal levels for 21 years. She was at various times W.A Minister for Education and Aboriginal affairs and was the first woman Premier and Treasurer of a State government. She shifted to Federal politics in 1994 when she was elected as the Member for Fremantle and was appointed Minister for Health and Human Services and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women. Professor Lawrence held various portfolios in Opposition, including Indigenous Affairs, Arts and Heritage, Environment, Industry and Innovation and was the first popularly elected national President of the Labor Party in 2004. She retired from politics in 2007.

Dr Jennie Whinam (Natural heritage expert)

Dr Jennie Whinam

Dr Jennifer (Jennie) Whinam is Senior Ecologist (World Heritage Areas) with the Department of Primary Industries, Parks Water & Environment, Tasmania. She has authored and co-authored numerous publications related to botany, ecology and conservation management and is a recognised expert in her field. She is the Senior Botanist on the Macquarie Island Research Advisory Group and is actively involved in Sub Antarctic research. She represents the Resource, Management & Conservation Division (RMC) at National, interstate and overseas government land management meetings. She has worked in international and national research posts, including past Chair of the International Mire Conservation Group and Visiting Researcher with the French Polar Institute. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Australian National University.

Ms Rachel Perkins (Indigenous heritage expert)

Mr Lyndon Ormond-Parker (Indigenous heritage expert)

Associate Professor Don Garden (Historic heritage expert)

Dr Jane Harrington (Historic heritage expert)

The Hon Dr David Kemp (Natural heritage expert)

Council media releases

Roles of the Australian Heritage Council

The Council plays a key role in assessment, advice and policy formulation and support of major heritage programs. Its main responsibilities are to:

  • assess places for the National Heritage List and the Commonwealth Heritage List
  • nominate places for inclusion in the National Heritage List or Commonwealth Heritage List
  • promote the identification, assessment, conservation and monitoring of heritage
  • advise the Minister on various heritage matters including the preparation and amendment of heritage strategies and management plans for Commonwealth areas and agencies.