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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3726 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

If the minister considers that the nominated place or object has heritage significance, he may declare it to be provisionally registered, which provides it with the full protection of a registered object or place. There then follows a process of notifying interested persons, calling for public submissions and seeking further advice from the Heritage Council. The minister's final decision to declare that the place or object does have heritage significance, and for it to be registered, is a disallowable instrument.

The best aspects of the current regime for conserving heritage are to be retained, notably close integration with the planning and development approval process and single point public interaction for development applications through Planning and Land Management. Provisions maintaining this close integration will be contained in consequential amendments to the land act which will deal with the necessary changes. It is the government's intention that the statutory referral of development applications from the planning authority to the Heritage Council be retained, with the council providing advice on conservation measures for registered places.

The bill proposes controls which allow for best practice management and maintenance of heritage places and objects. The range of measures available for enforcement will be significantly improved. The heritage offences and penalties will be similar to those set out in the Environment Protection Act 1997.

Mr Speaker, the bill provides for the minister to intervene in timely and effective ways and make orders to protect heritage values on both registered and unregistered places. Provision for heritage conservation incentives for owners and managers of heritage places is proposed through heritage agreements. Heritage agreements may be used to provide financial and other assistance, as occurs in other jurisdictions.

The major driver of the changes has been the need to streamline and speed up the registration process. Under the new system proposed in the bill, the present time frame of a year or more for completing a registration will be reduced to a maximum of five months from provisional registration to final registration and will be a single decision-making process. This will be achieved by no longer requiring the preparation of specific requirements for conservation, written as development controls, at the time of registration. Experience has shown that specific requirements can be unmanageably prescriptive and that they rapidly become out of date and may become inconsistent with other more current planning and development controls. This has become very clear in some AAT cases.

In the absence of specific requirements for conservation, there will be no need for a variation to the Territory Plan for registration of places and objects, and registration can be based solely on heritage significance. The current draft variation to Territory Plan No 173 for heritage residential precincts recently released by PALM, which addresses garden city heritage planning, provides controls for the majority of areas undergoing development change. However, formal development controls may still be required for other heritage places-for example, if further heritage precincts or individual places are registered. The process for introducing development controls for heritage places will follow that which is currently used, involving a variation to the Territory Plan. These provisions will be dealt with in the consequential amendments to the land act.

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