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Our understanding and appreciation of heritage are becoming increasingly sophisticated as our history matures. Heritage is a vital and fundamental part of our culture and cultural identity. It helps us to define who we are as a community and to put in context the future of Canberra against its history. The Government and the community both have a role to play in the heritage process. As a government, we can establish a legal and administrative framework to allow heritage places and objects to be protected and conserved. That framework is in place, although we recognise opportunities for its continued improvement. We can also encourage and support the community in its exploration of our heritage. The allocation of project funding is an important part of this, but it is not the only way to achieve this objective. It is a shared responsibility. As a government, we recognise our responsibility as a custodian of heritage assets - be it our significant heritage of parks, reserves and river corridors; our diverse and immensely rich cultural heritage of Aboriginal places; rural traditions; or the magnificent legacy of the planning of Walter and Marion Burley Griffin and their successors.

We are, indeed, lucky to live in such a special place. Despite these riches, many in our community are not yet aware of the resources we have around us. Consequently, the Government has a responsibility to promote our heritage and to educate people about its characteristics. The Government is ably assisted in this work by the Heritage Council of the ACT, which is set up as a statutory body under the Land (Planning and Environment) Act to, among other things, advise the Government on the best way to promote our heritage. I was pleased to hear that the council is developing a community awareness strategy to promote ACT heritage, and I will be watching the progress with interest. The strategy will target specific audiences in the community, such as the building and development industry, schoolchildren and home owners. I understand that, as part of the strategy, the council is preparing a series of brochures on the conservation and maintenance of heritage properties. The first of these brochures covers paint colours and garden plants for heritage houses. It will be released soon.

During Heritage Week, the council also released important documents relating to its processes for the assessment of places for the Heritage Places Register and the Heritage Objects Register. These documents were Guidelines to the Application of the Assessment Criteria for Places and Objects and Guidelines for the Use of Specific Requirements Relating to Urban Housing Precincts. Both of these documents will assist people in making nominations to the Heritage Places Register and in understanding the implications of listings.

As I mentioned, heritage awareness is a partnership and relies extensively on the community in the work of individuals and community organisations. Canberra is especially fortunate to have a large and diverse range of community organisations which are active in this area. I will name but a few of them - the National Trust, the Canberra and District Historical Society, the National Parks Association, the ACT Heritage Week Committee, the Conservation Council of the South East Region and Canberra, the ACT Studies Network, the Heraldry and Genealogy Society of Canberra and the Kosciusko Huts Association.

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