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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp MP
21 August 2003
Daryl Melham is the new heritage spokesman for Labor, but that is no excuse for not even reading the Government's heritage legislation.
The Government's new heritage regime retains the Register of the National Estate.
That's right. The Register of the National Estate will continue to exist under the new heritage regime as a living list, allowing places to be assessed and added to the Register.
Information about places in the Register of the National Estate will be maintained as a publicly accessible database of Australian's natural and cultural heritage places. So all the 14,000 places on the Register of the National Estate retain their current level of protection.
As for Melham's bizarre claim that there will be some "sell off" of places on the Register of the National Estate - it is both wrong and stupid.
Firstly, the Register of the National Estate will be completely retained, and secondly, he doesn't even realise that over 94% of the items on the Register of the National Estate are in private or state government hands, NOT in the hands of the Commonwealth! (Does he know something we don't know?)
You would think that he would have a reasonable understanding of the current regime he claims to love so much!
What's changed is that the Government will introduce a National Heritage List that will provide real protection to our iconic national natural, indigenous and historic heritage places.
And the Howard Government will lead the way in good practice by comprehensively protecting the Commonwealth's own heritage places through the establishment of the first ever Commonwealth Heritage List.
Melham is also wrong on indigenous heritage.
For the first time, indigenous places of national significance will be able to be identified and protected - with real penalties for those who damage the values of our national heritage places - under strong national legislation.
The real question for Mr Melham is why did Labor oppose it?