Compliance and enforcement

What is a stop order?

A stop order can be issued under Section 32 of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (PDF) and the Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (PDF) (the Acts).

The purpose of a stop order is to stop persons undertaking an activity that may harm Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage.

A delegate of the Minister or an authorised officer appointed under the Acts is able to issue a stop order for an activity if there are reasonable grounds for concluding the activity is harming, threatening to harm, or will have a significant adverse impact on Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage.

A stop order may be granted for an initial period of 30 days and renewed once for a further period of 30 days. At the end of the period, and in the absence of any resolution, DATSIP may need to seek a permanent injunction in the Land Court of Queensland and/or initiate a prosecution under the Acts.

The maximum penalty for contravening a stop order is $2 002 600.

Traditional Owners can also apply to the Land Court of Queensland for an injunction under the Land Court Act 2000. For further information visit the Land Court of Queensland website.

Compliance enforcement

The department, in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), is responsible for investigating activities that have allegedly breached Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage legislation.

Penalties

A person who carries out an activity must take all reasonable and practicable measures to ensure the activity does not harm Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage.

Failure to comply with the following can result in a maximum penalty of $1 178 000 for corporations and $117 800 for individuals:

  • A person must not harm, excavate, relocate or take away, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage if the person knows or ought reasonably to know that it is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage.
  • A person must not have in the person’s possession an object that is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage if the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the object is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage.

A person who is found to have harmed cultural heritage that has been recorded on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage register may be imprisoned for up to two years.

On conviction of a person for an offence, the court may order the person to pay the State or another appropriate entity an amount towards the cost of any repair or restoration of cultural heritage.

Contact us

For further information on compliance, penalties or stop orders, contact the Cultural Heritage Unit:

Phone: 1300 378 401
Email: cultural.heritage@datsip.qld.gov.au

Is your feedback

Please submit your comments on the department's Compliments and Complaints section.

Please submit your comments on the Queensland Government website Contacts form.