Heritage value considered

I WOULD like to respond to a small part of Tina Spadaccini’s letter ‘Heritage management a farce’ (Business News, September 7-13).

Unfortunately, Ms Spadaccini takes a very simplistic, one-dimensional view of heritage, namely that if a building is deemed to have some heritage significance it should be conserved.

It should be appreciated that the actual heritage value is only one consideration.

Section 4 (3) of the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 expressly uses the words “…with due regard to the rights of property ownership”, a consideration which many deeply committed conservationists often overlook.

It is the Heritage Council which presents the Minister with heritage advice for his consideration.

Some examples of this could be the environment, both built and natural, planning, transport or local government issues for which the minister could consult with other ministers.

Also, as already explained, the Minister must by law take into consideration the rights of property owners, who in most cases have invested their life’s savings, many thousands of dollars, into their home, and whose rights cannot be ridden roughshod over, no matter how worthy the heritage cause may be.

Despite this very justifiable provision, it also needs to be mentioned that during almost four years as Heritage Minister I have rejected only 11 out of the 380 heritage places ruled by the Heritage Council as worthy of listing.

Regardless of this, Ms Spadaccini also calls for legislative reform and I am very pleased to inform her that I introduced a new Heritage Bill into Parliament and it was second read on September 15, 1999.

Graham Kierath MLA, Minister for Heritage

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