11.8.1 Progress against 2011 recommendations
The 2011 State of the Environment Report1 recommended that the ACT Government should:
- develop an action plan for heritage that addresses the backlog of heritage nominations and recognises key future places for protection
- strengthen audit, compliance and enforcement processes in line with recommendations of the 2010 Marshall Review13
- develop an MOU with the Australian Government to protect assets, subject to Australian Government approvals, on the ACT Heritage Register
- promote ACT heritage values as a part of the Canberra 2013 centenary celebrations.
During the reporting period, progress has been made against most of these recommendations:
- A priority list has been developed to reduce the backlog of nominations, resulting in the provisional and full registration of many of the nominated objects and places.
- The Heritage Unit now has two officers trained in investigations and has developed a compliance enforcement policy to strengthen this process.
- The ACT’s heritage values were promoted in the centenary year through the Heritage Festival, which included 125 events involving 75 groups and individuals from the private, government and community sectors.
The MOU recommendation was not agreed to by the ACT Government and was not implemented.
11.8.2 Justification for the 2015 recommendation
Jurisdictions across the country vary in the way they monitor and report on heritage. Like the ACT State of the Environment Report, the NSW report assesses the state of heritage based on the number of registrations during the reporting period. Others assess condition only, and some do not assess the state of heritage in their reporting at all.
Although the registration of heritage places and objects provides a measure of the number and type of heritage that is afforded protection, it does not take into account the condition of the registered places and objects.
The 2011 national State of the Environment Report14 included the physical condition and integrity of heritage places as an indicator of the state of heritage across the nation. However, it found that, at a local level, data about the condition and integrity of heritage were not available.
The lack of condition monitoring may make it difficult to assess the deterioration of heritage over time, and reduces the ability of the ACT Government to maintain the condition and integrity of heritage places and objects. Also, as discussed in the Marshall Review, the audit and monitoring of condition would allow the assessment of the ongoing effectiveness of heritage protection measures.
The implementation of a regime to audit the condition of heritage in the ACT may assist in monitoring and identifying the impacts that pressures on heritage, such as urban development and climate change, are actually having over time, and allow appropriate action to be taken to preserve the condition of these places and objects.
That the ACT Government and the ACT Heritage Council commence a program of audits to assess and monitor the condition of heritage places and objects on the ACT Heritage Register.