Page 923 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017

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Finally, in the government’s commitment to heritage and the Chief Minister’s digital strategy I have recently committed funding for a much needed upgrade to the heritage database, which is a key management tool for the Heritage Council and ACT Heritage.

The upgrade will enable the system to deliver timely and accurate reporting and statistics on the heritage register; deliver heritage information to a web interface, including spatial information on the location of sites; deliver a system that interfaces with the government spatial database such as ACTMapi; improve the management of heritage registration processes; and improve notification to interested parties, including improving access and integration within the Commissioner for ACT Revenue’s database, resulting in significant efficiencies.

Madam Speaker, as stated in the amendment to Ms Lawder’s motion, we will report back to the Assembly by the end of August with that update.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (5.08): I will be voting for Minister Gentleman’s amendment, although on almost all grounds I also support Ms Lawder’s original motion. There is a lot in common between the two. I would have been very happy to support Ms Lawder’s motion except that it was pointed out to me that the amendment clarifies an important point, that is, the Heritage Council is independent. I accept the minister’s point that it is not appropriate for the Assembly to be calling upon the minister to tell the independent Heritage Council how it should do its work.

The other reasons I am prepared to support the amendment are because, apart from having very similar content, it also takes on two key points from Ms Lawder’s motion, which is that the government makes contact with nominators who have been waiting for more than 12 months and that the government reports back to the Assembly by the end of August. It is really important that there is a date on all these things so that we know what is happening and that nominations do not continue to be in the never-never. I do not know really where they are, and that is the whole point of Ms Lawder’s motion: we do not really know where they are.

I will mention another heritage nomination in a slightly different category which we do not really know what has happened to, that is, the inclusion of the central national area in the inner hills on the National Heritage List. I know this is a matter for federal and not ACT listing, but I asked questions about this as part of the annual report hearings and it would appear that the ACT is resisting or not supporting or not facilitating—whatever whatever negative words you want to use—this. Given our role as the planned, intended capital of Australia, the ACT should take this quite seriously.

A listing that is well done could protect the things that everybody in Australia, not just in the ACT, would see as the important parts of the ACT while still giving the ACT ample scope for development to meet the current needs of our community. That is a listing which has been held up for far too long. Clearly it is not part of Ms Lawder’s motion or Minister Gentleman’s amendment, but it is equally worthy of consideration and work by the ACT.

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