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Heritage – National Trust

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Tags: Heritage

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, I want to ask you about the National Trust's program of heritage works because a number of issues have been raised with us about the program of maintenance works on significant heritage sites. I will point you to one example, which is a former mine manager's beautiful historic house, Penghana, at Queenstown which we stayed at when the state opened up a bit.

There are some really significant maintenance needs, for example, at Penghana. There's some paint flaking off and there's water coming into the property. I had a walk around the property and there are some real pressing maintenance needs. I am sure that's not the only heritage building that hasn't had its maintenance work undertaken. Are you able to explain why really significant heritage sites like that are being left hanging in terms of the maintenance, and what role National Trust is playing here?

Ms ARCHER - It's been, I think, an ongoing issue for quite some time and we realise that Tasmania has some significant built heritage across the state -

Ms O'CONNOR - More than any other state, you'd say, in the country.

Ms ARCHER - More than any other state, that was my next sentence. You are right and correct. One thing at the moment I'm giving consideration to is coming up with a plan or a solution to have a sustainable model for that funding rather than grants here and there. For example, we have provided the capital works grant of $350 000 to progress necessary conservation works at Clarendon House. I visited there to see the results of that and it very pleasing, but you look around the property and you see there is so much more to the property as well, although they did a lot with that funding.

I agree with you. There would be a number of properties around the state and a number of properties indeed that municipalities can't keep up with the rate. I know Hobart City Council has always been an issue as well where they haven't had the money to put into their significant built heritage around their municipality as well. That was right back to when I was an alderman between 2007 10. I feel I have a pretty good understanding of the issue and needing to come up with something.

It came up in the Legislative Council committee yesterday in relation to all sorts of ideas have been put forward - Tattslotto and all sorts of things in relation to funding something for heritage. But we do need to think more creatively and out of the box to come up with a solution that provides some sustainable funding options for heritage. It requires significant funding and at the moment we are providing funding, but it is almost like you can't keep up with the depth of what is required in this area.

Mr BAKER - This is very much front of mind for us in the department. I would describe the relationship with the National Trust at the moment as we are really triaging financial problems.

Ms O'CONNOR - We are hearing a lot of problems with the Trust.

Mr BAKER - That is fair to be honest. As the minister has outlined, we have to come up with a sustainable financial model for this organisation. The department has a representative, who is Whish-Wilson on the Trust, who is talking to me a lot about these issues. Recently in my time as a deputy, there was some change in the Trust and we put some people on the Trust with a bit more financial acumen to try to get a clearer picture of what is going on. We are working literally weekly with them. We acknowledge it is an issue and I have been given the challenge by the minister to come up with a way to find a sustainable model and we are keen to do that.

Ms O'CONNOR - So long as that doesn't mean requiring the Trust to undertake more sales of heritage materials, which has happened over the past year or two.

Ms ARCHER - No, we trying to come up with a model where they can keep those assets.

Mr BAKER - They need an income stream.

Ms STANDEN - Is there an archaeologist on staff or consulting to Heritage Tasmania?

Ms GUERZONI - We have a staff member with archaeological [qualifications?] and when needed we contract archaeologists as we need them.