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Heritage - National Trust

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Tags: State Budget, Heritage

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, given the manifest and ongoing difficulties of the National Trust to be viable and to undertake a schedule of heritage maintenance and conservation works, are you -

Mr JAENSCH - That's your assessment.

Ms O'CONNOR - Well, actually, it's the assessment of people I speak to who are managing properties that come under the National Trust umbrella. One example is Penghana at Queenstown, which is one of the most beautiful historic buildings. I've stayed there a couple of times recently, and seen evidence of structural works that need to be done that simply aren't being done. I know that's not an isolated case.

As Heritage minister, you should know this has been an ongoing issue for heritage properties in Tasmania, going back to forever. Given the difficulty that the National Trust is in - and they've just been thrown a lifeline by your Government, and we don't begrudge that - how confident are you that the National Trust has the capacity and the resources to undertake those heritage conservation works, and deal with the backlog of conservation works that need to be undertaken on properties for which the National Trust is responsible?

Mr JAENSCH - We've signalled that we will be engaging with the National Trust on that over coming months, as we look to what our longer-term role is in supporting them and their capacity to operate their organisation to meet its obligations.

It's premature for me to guess at what the outcomes of those conversations might be. It's also inappropriate for me to speculate on the governance and financial affairs of a separate organisation, which has its own ownerships and its own independent board.

I register concern for the assets that the National Trust is responsible for, and also the interests of the very large group of people who pour their hearts into being involved in those places and looking after them.

Ms O'CONNOR - That's right.

Mr JAENSCH - We're concerned about both. We also have a marketable organisation and a skill base in the PAHSMA. One of the best things about the Penitentiary convict memorial hub project is that we have the PAHSMA's expertise in that National Trust owned property, and architects and advisers, and some money.

I'm very interested to see what benefit can be achieved through that hybrid approach to management of properties across different organisations, with different resources to bring to the table, and how that might be part of the future of how we manage more heritage places in Tasmania.

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, do you agree that at some level the state is going to need to potentially find extra resourcing to contribute to the maintenance and conservation of heritage properties that really belong to all Tasmanians? That there is a resourcing issue here, which is part of the reason the National Trust is in the problem that it's in?

Mr JAENSCH - There is a lot of heritage here, and it is held and managed by a range of different structures. I am working my way through understanding how they work, and how they work together - or don't - and what the resourcing requirements of the whole system are in Tasmania, before developing that sort of future plan, because the Government has some liabilities there.

There are historical funding expectations amongst different groups, but also there are situations in which, if those groups cease to operate, the responsibility falls to government. We need to understand how that system would best operate and what resourcing it needs.