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ASHA NEWS

Extension of Historic Shipwrecks Protection

Heritage Branch, Department of the Environment (Cwlth), compiled by Richard Morrison

The Minister, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, has announced that, this year, an extension to the current protection afforded only to shipwrecks, plane wrecks, Indigenous heritage sites and other underwater cultural sites, under the Historic Shipwrecks Act (1976), will be made under a new Underwater Cultural Heritage Act.

It was noted that this change will mean the historic sites will be registered on the Australian National Shipwrecks Database, and all access will require a permit, which acts as a deterrent to vandalism and theft. Additionally noted was that this would broaden and improve the protection of Australia's underwater history using the principles set down by the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, and it will also enable Australia to pursue ratification of the convention.

For further information see http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/frydenberg/media-releases/mr20161129.html