REVIEW OF THE HERITAGE ACT 1977 HEARING

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The Social Issues Committee has held its third hearing into the Review of the Heritage Act 1977. This hearing was fully virtual and streamed live on NSW Parliaments Youtube channel. 

We heard from a number of key stakeholders including: 

🔸 NSW Aboriginal Land Council 
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) is the peak body representing Aboriginal peoples across NSW and with over 23,000 members, is the largest Aboriginal member-based organisation in Australia. NSWALC, and the network of 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) across NSW, work to improve, protect and foster the best interests of all Aboriginal peoples in NSW

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council believe that overall, the Heritage Act does not currently meet Aboriginal community aspirations for protection of and decision making about ACH. The Heritage Act does not enshrine decision making rights for Aboriginal people about ACH, fails to embed and promote Aboriginal people’s understandings of ACH, and does not include safeguards to ensure cultural sensitivities are appropriately managed.

🔸 Anglican Church
The Anglican Diocese of Sydney, being the owner of over 20 items of State heritage significance and a further 100+ properties that are of local heritage significance.

The ACPT is the trustee owner (“landlord”) of NSW listed heritage items across 20 sites and 100+ properties that are of local heritage significance. The Growth Corporation is responsible for the strategic planning and oversight of greenfield and urban renewal development across the Diocese.

It is the experience of the Sydney Diocese that the Heritage Act, 1977, while not perfect, is not the problem when it comes to working with State listed properties. Most of the issues we face are related to the very conservative application of the Act by the heritage division.
🔸 Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
The RGB and Domain is one of the earliest public parklands and has been the centre of botanical collection and research in Australia for over 200 years, forming part of the Sydney Harbour Aboriginal cultural landscape which has notable connections into contact period.

🔸 EJE Architecture
They believe that the objectives of the Heritage Act are still relevant and even admirable. We acknowledge through experience that it is the mechanisms through which the Act is applied that can cumbersome, overly bureaucratic and at times political to the detriment of an item or the objectives of the Act.

These stakeholders have a variety of opinions on how the the Heritage Act could be improved/altered. 

For more information on this inquiry, please visit the Parliament's website.