Heritage and Planning Legislation Amendment Bill 2010

Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL — Thursday, 24 February 2011]
Hon Kate Doust; Hon Lynn MacLaren; Hon Wendy Duncan; Hon Linda Savage; Hon Robyn McSweeney


Second Reading

Resumed from 24 November 2010.

HON KATE DOUST (South Metropolitan — Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [12.14 pm]: I rise to make a
few brief comments on behalf of the opposition in support of the Heritage and Planning Legislation Amendment
Bill 2010. This legislation mirrors a similar piece of legislation that Labor flagged when in government. It
addresses the issue of penalties for breaches of a range of conservation orders in the Heritage of Western
Australia Act 1990 and it also seeks to amend the Planning and Development Act 2005. We support this bill in
policy and detail.

HON LYNN MacLAREN (South Metropolitan) [12.15 pm]: I rise to support the Heritage and Planning
Legislation Amendment Bill 2010. The Greens support the bill and the increased penalties and commend the
other parties for the multipartisan support that has expedited its passage through Parliament. The bill amends the
Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990 and the Planning and Development Act 2005. The purpose of the bill is
to increase the penalties for offences in respect of heritage places in Western Australia to provide a meaningful
deterrent to illegal conduct. There are no substantive changes to the heritage act. The bill increases only the
penalties for existing offences. There are three types of conservation orders under the heritage act: a stop work
order, which can be issued by the minister in an emergency without notice, and remains in effect for 42 days; a
consent order, which is made by the minister with the consent of the property owner and remains in place for as
long as the property owner consents; and a standard conservation order, which can be made by the minister on
the advice of the Heritage Council of WA following a public notice and six-week comment period and remains
in effect for as long as the minister directs.

This bill proposes to increase the penalties for contravention of any conservation order from $10 000 to
$1 million and the maximum daily fine from $1 000 to $50 000 for a continuing offence. When there is a
contravention of a conservation order, a court may, instead of or in addition to the above penalties, make a
restoration order to restore the affected property to the state it was in prior to the contravention. The bill
increases the penalties for contravention of a restoration order from $10 000 to $1 million, and from $1 000 to
$50 000 per day for a continuing offence. There are similar increases in the penalties imposed under section
67—failure to take reasonable steps to prevent further damage after conviction for any offence under the heritage
act and damaging a state-registered place and contravention of a development moratorium and related offences.

The bill also increases the fines under section 223 of the planning act for unauthorised development or
demolition of any place from $50 000 to $200 000, and the maximum daily fine from $5 000 to $25 000
irrespective of whether the place is a heritage place.

I just want to make one point about Hon Peter Collier’s second reading speech. He noted that the heritage act
was enacted in 1990 to provide “the means to identify and conserve places of significance to the cultural heritage
of the state”. There are approximately 1 300 places on the register of this state and the heritage act is outdated.
The fines imposed for contraventions are so low that they are no deterrent to some owners and developers who
may regard them as “merely a cost of doing business and a rather small one at that”. The fines lag well behind
those of other states.

The increased penalties were included in the bill after extensive consultation with diverse stakeholders. I was
advised by the principal policy officer to the Minister for Heritage that an issues paper will be published in mid-
2011 with a view to a complete rewrite of the heritage act in approximately two years. Safeguarding our natural
and cultural heritage is a key goal of the Australian Greens, who have been negotiating nationally for funds in
this area.

The Greens also support the member for Perth’s call for a select committee to review the heritage act with a view
to considering the effectiveness of the operations of the Heritage Council, the need for a continuation of the
functions of the Heritage Council and any other matters relevant to the operation and effectiveness of the act. We
heard in this house recently in the debate on the motion about The Cliffe that the operation of the heritage act
should be looked at. I will not go into the details that we have just heard on that debate other than to point
members to that debate and say that there is much relevant information there that points to the reasons why we
support this amendment bill. I look forward to the passage of this bill in this house.