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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3725 ..

Heritage Bill 2001

Mr Smyth , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by the Deputy Clerk.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.33): Mr Speaker, it gives me immense satisfaction to bring to the Assembly today a bill for the reform of the ACT's heritage legislation. The Heritage Bill 2001 sets out new provisions relating to the ACT Heritage Council, the ACT heritage register for places and objects of heritage significance to the ACT community, and offence provisions and incentives for the protection of our heritage.

On 2 June 2001 I released for community consultation the discussion paper ACT heritage legislation reform. This discussion paper was based on the outcomes of a review of the heritage provisions within the Land (Planning and Environment) Act. This review was part of a larger review of the heritage function in the ACT. The review has resulted in major improvements as it has been progressively implemented over the last two years.

Mr Speaker, the consultation process elicited more than 30 submissions, including those from professional groups such as the Royal Institute of Architects, the Royal Australian Planning Institute and the ACT branch of the National Trust. Many thoughtful individual responses were received as well. Consultation included stakeholder workshops and expert focus groups. The model for protection of heritage in the ACT, set out in the discussion paper, has been substantially refined as a result of the consultation process and the new model is reflected in the provisions of the Heritage Bill.

I believe that the new model on which the bill is based is forward looking and well suited to the expectations of the ACT community. At the same time, protection of heritage in the ACT will be at the leading edge of Australian practice.

I would now like to look at a few important features of the bill. This bill is stand-alone legislation, separate from the land act. It also replaces the Heritage Objects Act 1991. A separate heritage act will strengthen the profile of heritage, in keeping with community expectations and interest in heritage issues. The bill allows for the appointment of a Heritage Council and defines its functions as to identify, assess, protect, conserve and promote places and objects in the ACT with heritage significance. The Heritage Council will be composed of experts in heritage disciplines and community representatives.

The proposed ACT heritage register provides a better basis for recognition and registration of a full range of ACT heritage places and objects through a simple, accessible registration process. Nomination for inclusion in or removal from the heritage register will be open to anyone, including the Heritage Council. Nominations are made to the minister, who is required to seek the advice of the Heritage Council but is not obliged to act on it.

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