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Cumbersome Act under review

THE Heritage of Western Australia 1990 Act, considered unwieldy and inadequate by many in the building and heritage industry, is currently being reviewed.

However, not all in the property sector have been consulted.

Australian Property Council (WA) property research officer Anthony Shields said his organisation was left out during the consultation process, even though the new laws could hit is members hard.

He said the Property Council was putting together a report it hoped would become an industry standard on the practice of

preserving heritage buildings and guide government on legislative reform.

Mr Shield said it was important compensation measures be worked into the new laws to pay for foregone revenue resulting from decisions under the Heritage Act.

He said the property industry recognised the benefits of heritage. It wanted to provide constructive advice rather than fight the system.

In some cases, owners were able to benefit out of a heritage listing and had managed to use it as a marketing tool, Mr Shield said.

Heritage Council special projects manager Mike Betham said the new Bill would streamline the listing process.

It will also give the Heritage Council more power, providing provisions to legally enforce the responsibility of local councils to complete their inventories of

heritage buildings.

Mr Betham said councils, including the Perth City Council, currently made decisions inconsistent with the Act, yet the Heritage Council was powerless to act.

It is proposed the Heritage Council be given the ability to interim-register places under its own power and that there be a requirement for State government agencies to compile their own heritage inventories.

A new form of Conservation Order is also to be introduced, enabling the Minister for Heritage to direct the repair and maintenance of a registered place under neglect.

Under current laws the Heritage Council cannot not order repairs or the protection of property when a building is deliberately neglected.

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