The National Cultural Heritage Control List includes two classes of Australian protected objects:
- Class A objects that cannot be exported from Australia.
- Class B objects that can be exported from Australia only with an export permit granted under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986.
The Control List is in Schedule 1 of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Regulations 2018. Always consult the Control List before deciding whether material requires a permit.
Class A objects
Class A objects are of such significance to Australia that they must not be exported. These include:
- Victoria Cross medals awarded to named Australian service personnel unless they are owned, or held on loan, by the Commonwealth or a principal collecting institution.
- Each piece of the suit of metal armour worn by Ned Kelly at the siege of Glenrowan in Victoria in 1880.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material that may not be exported includes:
- sacred and secret ritual objects
- bark and log coffins used as traditional burial objects
- human remains
- rock art
- dendroglyphs (carved trees).
Class B objects
Class B objects are of cultural significance to Australia and they need permission to be exported. The categories are:
- Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage
- natural science, including fossils and meteorites
- applied science or technology, including heritage machinery
- fine and decorative art
- documentary heritage
- numismatics (coins)
- philately (stamps), and
- historical significance, including sporting trophies/memorabilia export controls.
Some material is included in more than one category. For example, photographs may be assessed under the fine or decorative art, documentary heritage, and historical significance categories.
Not all material is covered by the Control List, and some is deliberately excluded. For example, most artworks less than 30 years old do not need permission for export or import.