Campbelltown MP Greg Warren has thrown his support behind his party’s new policy on heritage protection.
“In the face of unprecedented urban growth in our region, it’s important now more than ever that we are doing everything we can to preserve Macarthur’s rich heritage,’’ says Mr Warren.
“Our region has some beautiful heritage items – natural and man made – and it’s vital that we preserve them for future generations to enjoy as those who have come before us have.”
The opposition’s stronger stance has come at a time when heritage is one of the biggest issues in Macarthur.
On Tuesday night a brave Campbelltown Council blocked an application to demolish the beautiful 120 year St James Anglican Church in Minto.
It was a brave decision because the church has never ben heritage listed so it has no such protection from demolition.
And Labor’s new heritage strategy does not look it would save it either.
Under the five point plan outlined by the opposition in parliament this week a Luke Foley Labor Government will:
• Develop and deliver the first ever NSW State Heritage Strategy;
• Remove the ability of the State Government itself to use the economic hardship provision of the Heritage Act to refuse a building heritage protection;
• Stop a Heritage Minister ignoring out of hand a recommendation from the Heritage Council to protect a particular place, by introducing a public hearing to allow the advocates for presentation another opportunity to make their case;
• Restore the Office of Heritage within the Department of Premier and Cabinet so that heritage issues are at the centre of government decision making;
• Re-locate the Office of the Premier and the Cabinet room to one of Sydney’s pre-eminent public buildings, the Chief Secretary’s building on the corner of Bridge and Macquarie streets.
“I believe in progress,’’ Mr Foley said in a speech to mark World Heritage Day.
“A government led by me will once again treasure and conserve important heritage buildings, items and places.’’
But in the case of St James, the oldest building in Minto village, the law needs to be changed to allow someone other than the owner to nominate it for heritage listing.
At present it’s up to the owners, and in this case the local Anglican parish chose not to.
It means that council’s refusal to approve demolition may be in vain if there is a legal challenge in the Land and Environment Court.