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Heritage – Cultural Heritage Act Review

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 9 June 2022

Tags: Heritage

Ms O'CONNOR - The heritage council's strategic plan lists a review of the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995 as an output of 2021 22. The 2021 22 financial year has almost concluded. Why was this review not made public for submissions? Who was consulted as part of this review? Has the review been concluded? What's the time frame? And will any draft bill be made available for consultation?

Ms OGILVIE - That's quite a detailed question and I will try to give you a detailed response. But if at any time you need more information, please do say.

The heritage council fulfils an incredibly important role, working with Heritage Tasmania to identify and protect places of historic heritage significance. The heritage council has an ambitious strategic plan, with an equally ambitious five year plan to evolve the Tasmanian Heritage Register. Both of these documents are available on the heritage council's website. The heritage council meets annually to review progress against the plans' goals, to set new goals and priorities for coming years. The next annual strategic planning workshop is scheduled for 18 October 2022. The heritage council's strategic plan includes three goals:

Goal 1 is to redefine the Tasmanian Heritage Register as a living resource. This is very important and will allow us to enable the online heritage register digitisation process. The heritage council is undertaking extensive work to provide additional online searchability.

Goal 2 of the strategic plan is to lead and engage with key stakeholders to shape positive outcomes for heritage places and owners.

Goal 3 of the strategic plan is to ensure sound judgement and decision-making in the performance of its statutory duties.

Ms O'CONNOR - Can I ask you to address your mind to the question, which was specifically about the review of the act, which is an output for this financial year?

Ms OGILVIE - Yes, I'm certainly happy to do that and some of that work is obviously happening within the department. I will ask the secretary to address that.

Mr ROBERTS - I understand the heritage council's strategic plan makes reference to the amendment to the act. There are minor amendments planned. They're currently in the drafting stage and the target is to be introduced in the spring session. That's what that's referring to. There's some minor amendments that are seeking to align the heritage act with the Local Government Act so that the timing of development application notifications and things like that is consistent, which was the intent of the recent changes in 2019 as well.

Ms O'CONNOR - Okay, thank you. Can I confirm, minister, if we're only talking about minor amendments which are underway, so we won't have a bill for consultation, that the heritage council is not actually reviewing the Historic Cultural Heritage Act?

Mr ROBERTS - That's their language to describe the same task in hand.

Ms O'CONNOR - But none of this information, none of the review process or submissions were made public, so it has been an internal review?

Mr ROBERTS - The intended amendments will come up through the normal legislative change process, which includes the standard consultations of all the departments and the public and everything. That consultation path has not started yet. We have only got to the first step of going to the parliamentary counsel and seeing what needs to be done.

The heritage council's language is probably not that clear, but that is the element of the task.

Ms WILSON - Andrew is correct. The language the heritage council uses does not mean it is a full review of the act. It is important to note that the Historic Cultural Heritage Act has been subject to a series of amendments over the years. This latest set of amendments are just some additional ones to better align with the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act. They are probably not as comprehensive as the last set of amendments. It is not a review as such.