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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 05 Hansard (Friday, 14 May 2004) . . Page.. 1940 ..

as needed to discuss this legislation and considerable effort will be put into continuing to inform the community about it.

It is important to consider and debate this legislation at the earliest opportunity so that the Emergency Services Authority, so strongly advocated in the McLeod report, can be operational before the next bushfire season. We cannot and should not wait for another fire season to pass before moving to reform emergency management. I look forward to that debate and discussions on the bill with Assembly members. Again I thank officers for their sterling work and members of this chamber and the wider community for the interest that they have shown in it.

Debate (on motion by Mr Pratt) adjourned to the next sitting.

Heritage Bill 2004

Mr Wood, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (11.48): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

It is my pleasure to table the Heritage Bill 2004. I thank those people in the Assembly that have worked assiduously over many years to get this bill into this chamber. Like the emergency services bill, it has involved extensive and continuing consultation that has taken rather longer than the emergency services bill. That consultation followed the tabling of an exposure draft of a heritage bill in August 2002, so there has been nearly two years of activity.

The exposure draft was a forward-looking bill that simplified the previous system as well as integrating heritage into the development assessment and approvals process. It proposed a new process whereby the Heritage Council would have responsibility for heritage registrations, as opposed to the territory planning authority. The new system proposed in the exposure draft was closer to the more modern heritage systems in other jurisdictions and was a simpler, more efficient system, in keeping with community expectations.

Since the tabling of that exposure draft, the government has undertaken further exhaustive consultation in order to ensure the bill presented today was the best possible outcome. Comments received from the general public and the stakeholders, as well as government agencies, have resulted in significant changes to that draft, all of which are designed to deliver a shorter, more transparent and truly contemporary heritage system.

In addition to the public consultation, the ACT Heritage Council sought advice from Mr Peter James, chairman of the Tasmanian Heritage Council. He is a recognised expert with regard to Australia’s heritage and has been intimately involved in the development

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