Page 925 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017

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Almost two years ago to the week, this chamber last discussed the heritage listing of Oaks Estate. Our Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, stated that:

Undoubtedly, Oaks Estate has a long and storied history, and it is indeed a strong and proud community—an integral part of the ACT but one with a distinct identity of its own

Yet in the ensuing two years nothing has changed with respect to the heritage assessment for Oaks Estate, or at least nothing that is in the public realm that we have been made aware of.

At the beginning of this month, the minister stated:

It’s vital that we work together to recognise, protect, conserve, and celebrate unique heritage for the ACT.

That is exactly what my motion is calling on today: that we have a plan and a commitment to heritage in the ACT, and we want the government to take heritage and heritage listings seriously. We acknowledged today, I believe, that there is a backlog of assessments and that perhaps additional resources are needed in this area. Heritage listing can bring greater certainty to people in the community about the changes that may take place to their areas or homes or buildings nearby and whether things will be sympathetic to identified heritage values.

With respect to the backlog of nominations, I bring to the Assembly’s attention the story in the Canberra Times in January this year of some buildings that were demolished in Narrabundah while waiting for heritage assessment. The article states:

The Narrabundah community has lost its fight to save four brick duplexes from demolition but may yet see the destroyed homes heritage listed.

Workers took to the Boolimba Crescent double-storey buildings on Wednesday to make way for nine new public housing units.

The Old Narrabundah Community Council had pushed against the development arguing it was yet to hear back about the heritage status of the duplexes.

I am not in any way making a judgment about the heritage value of any particular buildings. So leaving that aside, a backlog like this for the Heritage Council will mean these types of instances can happen again and again. Whether those buildings deserved heritage listing is not up to me and not up to this Assembly, but we can try to ensure that things are addressed in a timely manner. The article goes on with some other points about some views that those duplexes had heritage value, but that is not the point here. The point is that we need to ensure that the Heritage Council can go about its work in the most efficient and effective manner to ensure the history remains for our future generations as is appropriate.

That is why I call on the government today to prioritise clearing the backlog and prioritise clearing the nominations that have been on the register for an extended

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