Where to from here for local heritage protection and conservation?
The Trust has previously reported on various policy and regulatory matters which will impact on local heritage protection and conservation. These include the roll out of South Australia’s new planning system. The Trust is concerned that under this system the fate of contributory items and historic conservation zones is unclear. In addition, the community has fewer rights to participate in and challenge planning decisions. The new Community Engagement Charter is close to finalisation and will likely be endorsed after the upcoming state election without covering the public’s role in the assessment of development proposals.
In 2016 the Government released a provocative blueprint which threatened to severely diminish the State’s local heritage protection system. As a result of extensive public criticism , further regulatory changes have been put on hold until after the election.
The various parties have also released their election policies and statements on heritage However, whilst strong support for heritage is a common thread many are short on detail and lack clarity around specific measures to protect and conserve heritage and improve community involvement in the system. Most do not address key issues raised by the National Trust in its election policy platform.
Labor’s policy statement outlines “key achievements” over its term of office, but they have in fact overseen a significant decline in funding for heritage conservation and have failed to improve protection of local heritage through regulatory change. There is reference to the new Planning and Design Code which Labor says will “provide a new class of character protection, to better protect our character neighbourhoods”, however it is unclear how this will work in practice and whether it will in fact lead to greater overall protection for local heritage places.
The Liberal policy does not specifically mention improving protection and conservation of local heritage places apart from announcing extra funding to assist property owners. SA-Best’s policy encourages public participation in decision making through reforms to our planning laws. The Greens SA policy is upfront – our laws need to be strong to make sure protection is real and ongoing and the state’s planning laws are important with respect to heritage. As they point out once a place is lost it is lost forever.
Read full responses from each of the parties in the latest issue of Heritage Living