2014 candidate for Naracoorte Lucindale Council.
Heritage survey responses.
What do you think Council's role is in protecting and conserving heritage?
Council has an obligation to protect all items of heritage under its jurisdiction . Unfortunately this is severely limited in this large rural area, as most places are NOT under council care and/or control. To be fair, one structure under council control that was significantly upgraded and hence preserved was the Naracoorte Town hall 25 years ago. It was considered to be of no worth and was slated to be demolished. A very large amount was borrowed and the 1912 structure was preserved. This was, however a "wouncer" as there was no specific policy in place.
What measures and incentives do you support to protect and conserve local heritage?
the cost/benefit pressures are significant in the Naracoorte Lucindale area and the idea of purchasing a heritage situation is anathema to council. Council is able to negotiate with owners of private property that is worthy of preservation, but, in the end it is the owner or the state that decides. State Legislation guarantees it.
What is the most important heritage protection issue in your local government area?
There are no high-value built items in the area, as most have already been destroyed. The local heritage protection group are visibly active in collecting and preserving that which is possible. There are many declared state protected natural areas in the Council district, as well as two world heritage sites, the Naracoorte fossil caves and the RAMSAR wetlands of the Bool Lagoon. Council is justifiably proud of these, if for their economic input only. Local Government has no direct input to these but does maintain some signage and connecting roads. Recent efforts to get Council to consider heritage trees died in the Council agendas. I personally consider that vacant land owned by council under Torrens Title, or crown land dedicated to the Minister for Local Government, to be heritage land. It is being slowly sold off to fund short term projects of the Council of the day. This view is not shared by everyone.
What policies and programs will you advocate to protect and conserve heritage in your local area?
Council does not have a specific policy or programme to address this issue. If elected, I will instigate a specific policy and programme development to address heritage conservation and protection in the area.
Do you support local Councils retaining development approval powers for projects over $3m in value?
I support Local Government's right to have development approval powers for all matters in the council's providence, regardless of some arbitrary cutoff dollar value. However, Local government is but a state controlled matter and comes under the several relevant State Ministers. Bitter experience in the recent past over perceived heritage buildings reveal that Local Government has very limited powers over development applications for demolition or construction of any value if the state deems otherwise. Legal liability, associated costs and the directions given under the Development Act for objections which can override council, come into play here. The $3million seems irrelevant.
Do you have any other thoughts about the protection of heritage in your Council area?
It is not considered to be a significant issue in this large rural area: unfortunately. This could be slowly changing. A large factor here is cost. Everything is valued only in dollar terms . The idea of a society value per se is not recognized if the environment can be improved in cash value by removing and replacing old and now economically outdated built-environment placements.. I, personally, live in a 50Ha scrub block that I have placed on the state Heritage Register of significant remnant vegetation so that it will at least have some chance to survive in the future. Local government is silent in these issues. The whole heritage agenda is perceived in the bush as being a city-centric issue and so development applications are based on city ideas only. This centralist tendency is being increasingly resented in the serious rural areas. This not only applies to heritage considerations, but is now permeating the large rural regions throughout the state in many other ways as well.