"A people's relationship to their heritage is the same as the relationship of a child to its mother." - John Henrik Clarke
Heritage is the environment, objects and places that we inherit from the past and pass on to future generations. It is inseparable from culture as a way of understanding and living in the world. “Heritage” for Lynn and the Greens includes “cultural heritage”.
In 2011, Heritage Minister John Castrilli released the State’s first cultural heritage policy, which he said established "a framework to ensure a secure future for significant heritage places".
One of the initiatives under the policy is a comprehensive review of the Act. Lynn welcomed the release of the policy and the review of the Act.
In response to the policy and the Minister’s statement Lynn welcomed the announcement of a review of the Heritage Act but notied that the policy was short on detail, and in particular, that “Natural, cultural and Aboriginal heritage have thus far been poorly recognised and inadequately protected.”
Another shortcoming of the Act which the Greens believe should be addressed by this review is ‘demolition by neglect.’ As the consultion paper points out:
“There is nothing in the Act that requires an owner to carry out maintenance or repairs to a Registered place. Under the current Act, it is completely legal for an owner to allow a Registered place to crumble into disrepair (so long as the owner does nothing to speed the process along).”
Already this year, the Greens supported stiffer penalties for demolition of heritage property.
However, there remains inadequate protection for heritage properties that fall into disrepair and neglect. Lynn believes there should be legislation that prevents intentional demolition and demolition by neglect, with penalties for non-compliance.
Equally, financial and non-financial incentives should be provided to assist owners to preserve heritage places, such as grants, differential rating and positive marketing
The Heritage Act Review consultation paper, links to the Cultural Heritage Policy and the Minister’s media statement are available on the Heritage Council website. Lynn has however, noted that there are shortcomings with the policy.
As Greens spokesperson for Heritage Lynn drafted a submission to the review.
Safeguarding our natural and cultural heritage is a key goal of the Greens.
While lip service is paid in the policy to a holistic approach to heritage, this is something which the WA Greens genuinely espouse, and we believe that communities do too.
In addition, Lynn promotes the adaptive re-use of heritage structures guided by heritage conservation values, recognising that restoration, reconstruction, adaptation and compatible use are preferred to "facading" or other unsympathetic redevelopment.