ICOMOS Rejects Proposed Planning Bill

114 Belmont Road Mosman 2On 10 November 2013, Australia International Council on Monument and Sites (ICOMOS) wrote to the Honourable Member of Parliament, Luke Foley imploring him and his party not to support the upcoming legislation which intends to radically change the planning system in New South Wales. The legislation comprises the Planning Bill 2013 and the Planning Administration Bill 2013.  Both bills have already passed through the Legislative Assembly. The Planning Bill, in its current form would have an unacceptable impact on the State’s heritage; 90% of which is managed through the local government planning system. 

Australia ICOMOS has lodged repeated submissions at every stage of the planning review process in response to the Issues Paper, Green Paper and White Paper, A New Planning System for NSW. Australia ICOMOS is the Australian branch of ICOMOS, the international non-governmental organisation of cultural heritage professionals founded in 1965. ICOMOS works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places across the world has members and national committees in more than 100 countries and is an advisory body to UNESCO on World Heritage matters. Australia ICOMOS members are highly regarded internationally and as innovators in heritage management.

In late August ICOMOS wrote to the Premier to express its dismay at the adverse impacts on the cultural heritage of New South Wales. The proposed measures will diminish the 40-year achievement of robust heritage legislation in NSW and would send a message to the community that economic growth and development is what really matters, not our cultural heritage. ICOMOS maintains that the majority of the heritage concerns and those expressed in many of the over 4,000 submissions made in response to the Exposure Bill, have been ignored by the government and those charged with drafting the legislation.

ICOMOS remains of the view that the Bills compromise ‘best conservation practice’ and management of our cultural heritage. The fact that strategic plans (particularly Regional and Sub-regional plans) need to take no cognizance of local heritage items and heritage conservation areas is truly alarming and is bound to have a lasting and adverse effect on cultural heritage in New South Wales.

The Bills deliberately downplay the importance of cultural heritage to communities and do not have separate objectives or distinct heads of consideration for cultural heritage. Instead, cultural heritage is lumped in with the ‘environment’ without any specific mention of conservation objectives. ICOMOS points out that ‘code assessment’ on local heritage items is inappropriate and potentially destructive.

The letter was signed on behalf of Australia ICOMOS and in particular by the following list of heritage luminaries;

  • Elizabeth Vines, OAM, President Australia ICOMOS, Adjunct Professor
  • Kristal Buckley, AM, International Vice President, ICOMOS
  • Hon Dr Barry Jones, AO
  • Dr James Kerr, AM
  • Professor Colin Sullivan AO
  • Dr Jack Mundey AO
  • Mr John Morris
  • Dr Clive Lucas, OBE, Architect
  • Ian Stapleton, Architect
  • Howard Tanner AM, Architect, Professorial Fellow
  • David Logan, Architect
  • Malcolm Garder, Valuer
  • Meredith Walker AM
  • Adjunct Professor Dr Shirley Fitzgerald
  • Peter Watts AM, Architect
  • Ian Carroll OAM
  • Professor David Throsby

Paul Rappoport - Heritage 21 - 1 May 2015

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