Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 March 2017) . . Page.. 918 ..
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (4.53): I thank Ms Lawder for bringing forward this important motion today. It is important, of course, to talk about heritage and how we can recognise it as we proceed with Canberra’s future. Canberra has inherited a rich cultural and natural heritage. Some of the assets in that heritage reflect our history and our community values as well.
The government recognises the significance of conserving our heritage while also building a vibrant and sustainable city into the future. The Heritage Act was passed in 2004. It provides for the recognition, registration, conservation and promotion of places and objects of natural and cultural significance, including of Aboriginal and historic significance.
Following a peer review and public consultation, an amended act was debated and passed on 25 September 2014. The amended legislation builds on the framework and achievements of the existing system and seeks to deliver a more strategic and transparent approach to heritage matters. It introduces a number of provisions to strengthen the existing framework for the recognition, protection and conservation of heritage places and objects in the ACT.
To complement the legislative reforms, a five-year heritage strategy and accompanying communications strategy is currently being developed to guide a strategic and proactive approach for the recognition, conservation and promotion of the ACT’s heritage into the future. As I said, it is appropriate to ensure that we keep as much heritage registered in the ACT as possible. In that context, I move the amendment circulated in my name to Ms Lawder’s motion:
Omit all words after “That this Assembly, substitute:
“(1) notes that:
(a) the ACT, as with all jurisdictions, has a list of places and objects nominated to the Heritage Register that require further assessment against heritage significance criteria in order for the independent ACT Heritage Council to make decisions on registration;
(b) the Heritage Council is passionate about Canberra’s heritage and has a strategy for addressing the list of places and objects nominated to the Heritage Register requiring assessment;
(c) the Heritage Council has substantially reduced the nominations list. Since reaching a peak of 320 in 2008, the list of nominations is currently 131;
(d) any member of the community can nominate a place or object to the Heritage Register, so the long list of nominations reflects the community interest in heritage matters; and
(e) in some cases, nominations may be straightforward and can be easily assessed. In others, such as with precincts, a single nomination may take much longer to assess, due to the complexities involved; and