Heritage Minister, Matthew Groom, again refused to provide any detail of his plan to cut a third of the properties from Tasmania’s Heritage Register in Parliament today.
Greens’ Heritage spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said the Minister has wilfully evaded making any public comment over scandalously poor process to gut Tasmania’s Heritage Register by 1653 properties this year.
“In December last year, the Heritage Council met and resolved to remove an unspecified number of properties from the Register, yet almost five months later, owners of those properties are still in the dark,” Ms O’Connor said.
“The Heritage Council met again in February and made a similar resolution, which again has not been communicated to property owners or the Tasmanian community.”
“Eight months after Mr Groom’s plan was revealed in the Budget papers, Tasmanians still have no idea what type of properties are being targeted for removal from the Register.”
“We do know, however, that an already under-resourced Heritage Tasmania has had a staffing cut under this government, and those assessments are likely to be largely desk-top assessments as there simply aren’t the staff available to undertake rigorous, on site assessments of sites slated for removal.”
“The Minister said in the Greens’ Matter of Public Importance debate today that this process is about restoring integrity to the Register. This despite his own spokesperson in September last year stating that this process will provide significant savings to owners of properties which will be removed from the Register, and the cost of maintaining the Register is also expected to be reduced significantly.”
“When the government talks about ‘removing unnecessary regulatory burden” from property owners, it’s code for a significant weakening of heritage protections in Tasmania.”
“The Minister who seems to know the price of everything and the value of nothing has plenty of explaining to do about his plan for our priceless heritage assets, but so far, he has been in hiding on this issue, which does nothing to instil faith in his process among Tasmanians who value our built heritage,” Ms O’Connor said.