Robert John Thornett
2014 candidate for Wattle Range Council.
Heritage survey responses.
What do you think Council's role is in protecting and conserving heritage?
Highly significant as it provides support and protection for heritage areas within their council boundaries. Although many of the classifications for Heritage listing is a state issue, the use and access to these sites is often a council issue.
What measures and incentives do you support to protect and conserve local heritage?
Local heritage sites first need identification, then in combination with the landowner, the council can certainly provide some assistance in making sure these sites are protected and conserved. Although funding can be an issue with tightening of council budgets, often council's can assist in the provision of information to the landowner and at times 'in kind' support for a conservation project. The council can also be the conduit through which volunteer work can be coordinated
What is the most important heritage protection issue in your local government area?
Some of the historic buildings in communities around the Wattle Range Council are highly significant state heritage sites. In Riddoch Ward, a number of buildings such as the Tourist Information Centre, the Mary Mackillop precinct, Wynns Winery, Coonawarra Hall and school house are some of the more significant sites.
What policies and programs will you advocate to protect and conserve heritage in your local area?
Programs of systematic identification and classification of Heritage sites needs to be maintained. This needs to have the cooperation of relevant organisations and the landowner for it to be successful. Protection and conservation requires funding and this ideally would be something the landowner would be willing to provide. However, the additional costs involved in this work should come from the state - and this is the difficult area where some negotiation would be necessary. It cannot be always at the taxpayers (or ratepayers) expense.
Do you support local Councils retaining development approval powers for projects over $3m in value?
Although a significant part of a council budget, the value of $3 million would not get a great deal in terms of road infrastructure at least. Hence I would support the retaining of approval powers as long as process involved was clearly seen as going through the appropriate council checks and financial processes.
Do you have any other thoughts about the protection of heritage in your Council area?
Historically, in rural areas of SA sometimes the personalities involved in key bodies such as local council AND local National Trust branches can have a more than appropriate powers in determining Heritage classification and conditions. This has tainted the relationships between these organisations and the landowners involved. Local council and Heritage organisations need to work openly and cooperatively to make sure that heritage sites are protected for future generations