In Parliament today, Heritage Minister, Matthew Groom MP, finally came out of hiding on his plans to remove a third of the properties from Tasmania's Heritage Register this year.
Greens' Heritage spokesperson, Cassy O'Connor MP, said while the few details provided today are welcome, it is now more than five months since the Heritage Council met and resolved to remove the first tranche of properties from the Register.
"In what's become a very opaque process, owners of currently listed heritage properties affected by the Council's statutory decision will be contacted by Heritage Tasmania this week. There is no explanation for the delay other than fraidy-cat political meddling on the Minister's part. Mr Groom knows this is a very sensitive subject to many Tasmanians."
"The Heritage Council met again in February and made another statutory decision to remove an unknown number of properties from the Register, yet no word to owners since and no public statement about that meeting."
"There is no doubt the Register could do with a thorough examination to ensure listed properties do in fact belong on the Register, and that important sites have full heritage protection."
"For example, Woolnorth Estate is not listed on the Register and it surely should be recognised as a place of immense heritage significance to Tasmanians."
"Regrettably, what could have been a sound, publicly respected process has been compromised from the outset by the Minister setting a target in the Budget papers of 1653 properties for removal, and by his own spokesperson declaring the removals will lower costs for heritage property owners and reduce the expense of maintaining the Heritage Register," Ms O'Connor said.