Australian Heritage Commission, 2000
- 8.1 Principal planned outcomes
- 8.2 Strategies to implement planned outcome
- 8.3 Output — Identification of heritage significance and advice on management
- 8.4 Output — Framework for protecting Commonwealth heritage properties
- 8.5 Output — Commonwealth Heritage Register
- 8.6 Output — Training in heritage property management
The Commonwealth Government has signalled its intention to improve the conservation of its heritage properties and to respond to the Schofield inquiry into management of Commonwealth-owned heritage properties. The Australian Heritage Commission has put a high priority on accelerating the identification and conservation of Commonwealth-owned heritage places, and will continue to assist government agencies to that end.
- Increased identification, conservation, protection and sustaining of Commonwealth heritage properties for the Australian community.
- Increased compliance by Commonwealth bodies with the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975.
- Identify the heritage significance of Commonwealth properties and provide advice on their conservation.
- Advise the Minister for the Environment and Heritage on appropriate mechanisms for identifying and protecting Commonwealth heritage properties.
- Support the establishment and maintenance of a Commonwealth Heritage Register.
- Encourage and facilitate Commonwealth agencies implementing better practice for identification and management of their heritage properties.
Advice provided is clear, expert and timely. A trial program is to be completed with at least one Commonwealth agency.
During 1999–2000 the Commission provided 1,432 pieces of advice related to Commonwealth proposals from a range of Commonwealth agencies. Particularly large numbers of referrals were received for proposals under Commonwealth grant schemes, especially the Cultural Heritage Projects Program, and for telecommunication facility proposals.
As well as commenting on works, the Commission continues to provide substantial comment on proposed disposals of Commonwealth heritage property, mainly to the Department of Defence and the Department of Finance and Administration. The Commission encourages the early identification of the significance of properties intended for divestment, and the application of mechanisms to ensure the ongoing protection of their heritage values following disposal. This often includes the development or upgrade of conservation management plans.
The Commission commented on a number of conservation planning documents, including reports for Green Hill Fort on Thursday Island, Townsville Customs House, Newcastle Customs House and Bruny Island Quarantine Station — places identified for disposal by the Department of Finance and Administration.
During the year the Commission and the Defence Housing Authority completed a trial heritage identification project. This included a desktop study to review and update the Defence Housing Authority’s inventory of heritage properties, including those of known and potential heritage significance, and to report on future requirements for preparing conservation management plans.
Cameron Offices, Canberra ACT
The Commission continued to assess Commonwealth-owned places for entry in the Register of the National Estate during the year. The following Commonwealth-owned heritage places were entered in the Register:
- Thornton Hall and Surrounds, Penrith, New South Wales;
- Archina and Ascot and Surrounds, Randwick, New South Wales;
- Geraldton Customs House, Western Australia;
- Cameron Offices, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory; and
- the Edmund Barton Building, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
The following Commonwealth-owned heritage places were entered on the Interim List:
- the Defence Explosives Factory, Maribyrnong, Victoria;
- Salisbury Explosives Factory, South Australia;
- HMAS Platypus, Neutral Bay, Sydney, New South Wales;
The Edmund Barton Building, Canberra ACT
- Pontville Small Arms Range, Brighton, Tasmania;
- CSIRO Main Entomology Building, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory; and
- Small Arms Factory (ADI) Lithgow, New South Wales.
Framework developed and timely and expert advice provided.
The Commission continued to use the Report of the Committee of Review — Commonwealth-Owned Heritage Properties (1996) and its associated manual as the basis for advising Commonwealth departments on the management of their heritage assets. Work also continued on updating some elements of these documents (mainly disposal guidelines) to establish a framework that could be incorporated into the Government’s new legislative regime for the environment and heritage.
Salisbury Explosives Factory, South Australia.
The Commission has advised the Government on the need for Commonwealth agencies to identify their heritage assets and adopt a best practice approach to management through the development of asset registers and conservation management plans. This new heritage framework derives in many respects from the work of the Commission in the development of the National Heritage Places Strategy, since it first released discussion papers on future directions and national standards in 1996, and especially following the landmark National Heritage Convention of August 1998.
During the year, a draft Commonwealth– State–Territory protocol on Commonwealth heritage properties was also developed. After Commonwealth agencies had agreed to the draft protocol, it was presented to the National Heritage Chairs and Officials at their meeting in March 2000 for comment. The protocol aims to provide a framework for a cooperative and coordinated inter- agency approach in relation to the provision of advice on Commonwealth historic heritage properties, where disposal or major changes are proposed that are likely to affect heritage values.
- Commonwealth Heritage Register developed.
- Commonwealth-owned heritage places identified and assessed for inclusion on the Commonwealth Heritage Register.
- Commonwealth Heritage Register places included on the Register of the National Estate.
The Commission has assisted Environment Australia in the development of proposed statutory mechanisms for the protection of Commonwealth heritage places that could be incorporated into the Government’s new legislative regime.
It also continued to assess Commonwealth heritage places for the Register of the National Estate, which is likely to assist in the development of a future Commonwealth Heritage Register. Twenty-two places owned or partly owned by the Commonwealth were entered in the Register of the National Estate during the year, and existing entries continue to be upgraded. This work is often based on conservation studies obtained by Commonwealth agencies on the recommendation of the Commission. Such studies are typically assisted by Commission heritage input to a study brief and review of consultants’ drafts.
The Commission provided ongoing advice to the Department of Defence. Defence has commenced an important study during the 1999–2000 financial year that will identify and enable comparative assessment of drill halls across Australia. With Commission funding and assistance, the Defence Housing Authority updated its inventory of heritage properties.
- Major agencies briefed.
- Trial implemented with one agency.
- Program developed with at least one other agency.
The Commission continues to work with Commonwealth stakeholders towards the improved management of Commonwealth heritage assets. This included close liaison with the Defence Housing Authority to trial the Commission’s proposed framework based on the Committee of Review into Commonwealth Owned Heritage Properties (CR-COHP). As a result, the Defence Housing Authority now has a Heritage Property Management Strategic Plan, a customised heritage asset management manual, a desktop heritage survey and plans for a training workshop next year.
The Commission has also liaised with the Defence Estate Organisation about adopting a strategic approach to the management of its heritage properties. With heritage obligations incorporated into the Defence Estate Organisation’s draft policy and operational planning documents, work has now begun on the development of a draft Defence Environment and Heritage Strategic Plan. The first step in this process involved a Defence Environmental Officers’ workshop at which the Commission made a presentation and answered questions.
The Commission continued to liaise with the Property Group of the Department of Finance and Administration regarding its future heritage management program and advised on the outsourcing of its property management functions to ensure that heritage issues are adequately covered. It also provided comment to the Australian Antarctic Division on their draft heritage property management strategic plan, and assisted that division in its appointment of a heritage officer.
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