Page 924 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017

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I agree with the sentiments put forward by Ms Lawder and Minister Gentleman that heritage is clearly something that is important to Canberra. As a young city we do not have that much heritage, and it is particularly important to preserve, as we have in many cases, some of our pre-national capital heritage. I love seeing St John’s because there is just so little around that is actually old and human heritage in the ACT. Out in Namadgi some wonderful rock paintings have been preserved as heritage, and I think that is great.

Basically I effectively support both the motion and the amendment, and I will vote for the amendment.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.12), in reply: To close, it is fair to say there is a lot of commonality in what we have discussed today. I thank Minister Gentleman for his comments and his amendment and Ms Le Couteur for her comments on behalf of the Greens. There is a real desire to ensure that relevant and appropriate parts of our history are maintained for future generations.

It was interesting to see a bit of a hands-off approach in talking about the Heritage Council being independent when today we spent quite some time debating an issue that is determined by an independent federal body. Apparently it is not appropriate for us to direct the work of a local so-called independent body. It is an issue of heritage that Mr Gentleman was more than happy to take questions on and talk about during the annual report hearings, which is why I felt he was perhaps the best person to address my motion to today. I will quote from the hearings on 6 March when Mr Gentleman said:

As you are probably aware, there are 10 criteria that need to be looked at with each nomination, so it is quite an involved process. During that process we look at all aspects of heritage nomination. Indigenous aspects and architectural aspects of heritage nomination need to be looked through. Overarchingly, we are now receiving more nominations, and the amount of work involved in looking at each nomination is quite detailed.

Those comments led me to believe that Mr Gentleman would be in a position to ensure that what I have called for in this motion may be able to be addressed. However, I am quite willing to accept his comments today about the independent body and that the directorate provides the administrative and secretariat support to the Heritage Council. But I reiterate the comment made that the decision rests with the Heritage Council as the independent decision-making body—that is quoting pretty much verbatim what Mr Gentleman said—whereas in other areas those opposite do not appear willing to make that distinction about an independent decision-making body.

As I have said, heritage places bring the ACT’s rich history into the spotlight. Heritage listings are not just about buildings; they are about landscapes, gardens, parks, farms, streets, towns, cemeteries, Aboriginal sites, archaeological relics, bridges, railway stations, churches, objects and natural places.

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