Rau calls pre-election pause in his war on heritage
The Minister for Planning, John Rau, has declared that his controversial proposals to dismantle the state’s local heritage protection system will be put on hold until after the State election. He is reported as saying he would not pursue changes to local heritage listing laws because of “limited parliamentary time” before the state election in March.
The announcement coincided with yesterday’s official launch of the National Trust’s report on the Community Consultation of Local Heritage which analysed the 183 public submissions made in response to the Government’s controversial 2016 discussion paper. To date, the Government has made no response to the 650+ pages of written submissions it received from the public one year ago.
President of the National Trust, Professor Norman Etherington AM, said
“This survey of public opinion is one of the most important and comprehensive reports on community views about heritage ever undertaken in Australia. The Government has had a year to respond to the widespread community concern about its proposals to dismantle the local heritage protection system that has served South Australia well for more than 40 years. We call on the Minister and the Premier to make their position clear and to address the many concerns raised by the public in response to their call for community feedback more than a year ago.”
Professor Etherington welcomed the news that the Government would not pursue its planned Heritage Bill at this stage. He noted that “ninety percent of the people who participated in the community consultation did not not want any changes… so this is good news.”
However, in the absence of any clear policy from the Government, or even an acknowledgement of the community feedback it sought, the future of our heritage protection system is now clearly an issue on the agenda for the upcoming State election.