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Heritage law required

I reply to the letter Heritage Value Considered (Business News Sept-ember 21-27) by Planning and Heritage Minister Graham Keirath.

The Minister stated that my view of heritage (Business News, September 7-13) was “very simplistic and one-dimensional,” explaining that the State Government, when making decisions on heritage, also considered factors such as environment, planning, transport and “local government issues”.

These matters are not “dimensions of heritage”, but separate factors which often compete with heritage conservation and continue to be put before heritage at an alarming rate.

Emphasis was given to section 4 (3) of the Heritage of Western Australia Act about “… rights of property ownership”.

This has obviously been interpreted by the Government to mean – categorically – that owners must be allowed to demolish important buildings.

On that basis, heritage listing and conservation – or not – of privately-owned heritage buildings is effectively in the hands of the owners.

Where does the wider community interest come into the equation?

Mr Kierath advised that property owners often have invested life savings in these properties, implying heritage buildings reduce the value.

Real estate studies shown old “character” homes can increase the value by up to $100,000.

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