People who break Canberra's heritage protection laws are set to face tougher penalties, under new laws to be proposed by the ACT government.
It follows the felling of two Indigenous scarred trees in 2017, which was revealed in an ACT government estimates committee hearing in June this year.
Planning minister Mick Gentleman announced on Monday he would introduce new legislation to the ACT assembly "later this year".
The bill has not been drafted, but Mr Gentleman said the laws would included $1000 on-the-spot fines for damage to heritage items, regardless of whether it could be repaired.
The fines could be issued for minor damage, for acts that diminished "heritage significance of a place or object" or damaged an Aboriginal object, according to information published by the government online on Monday.
"New processes would cut red tape and give the Heritage Council more flexibility in dealing with problems, allowing quicker, more appropriate outcomes," Mr Gentleman said.
Currently, offenders can only be prosecuted through the courts.
In 2017, two Indigenous scarred trees were cut down during works in Wanniassa despite being heritage listed.
One tree was accidentally cut down by an ACT government contractor, then mulched before the incident was "self-reported" to the ACT Heritage Council.
It was unknown how the second scarred tree was cut down or who did it, but it was reported by a member of the community six months after it was felled.
When the felling was revealed in June, Ngunnawal elder Wally Bell said the acts represented the destruction of 25,000 years of Indigenous culture.
The trees were scarred by Indigenous people, who used the bark to form shields, canoes or other objects, Mr Bell said.
The estimates committee heard in June that prosecutors had to prove an intent to damage a heritage item.
At the time, environment and planning directorate chief operating officer Craig Simmons said that was very difficult to prove.
But the new laws would also include a "strict liability offence" which made it sufficient to just prove the individual was responsible for the damage.
"For instance, it is a strict liability offence to exceed the speed limit whether or not the driver intended to drive faster than the speed limit," government documents said.
Heritage council officers would also be able to direct people to repair the heritage place or object, if it could be repaired.
According to the government, the Heritage Council can only issue directions to stop if heritage places of objects faced a serious or imminent threat.
This meant stop orders couldn't be used if the damage had occurred or if the damage was only minor.
"The Government is committed to preserving heritage places and objects," Mr Gentleman said.