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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment


A Joint Statement with the ACT Minister for Urban Services, the Hon Brendan Smyth

28 May 1998

Heritage places in the Australian Capital Territory will benefit from an integrated approach to heritage following the signing today of a historic agreement between the Commonwealth and the ACT.

The Commonwealth-ACT Memorandum of Understanding is the first bilateral heritage agreement between the Commonwealth and a State or Territory which covers all aspects of heritage legislation. The agreement is notable as it will lay the framework for an integrated system of heritage administration in the ACT.

The agreement was signed by Federal Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, and ACT Urban Services Minister, Brendan Smyth. Dr Bill Jonas, Chair of the ACT Heritage Council, and Mr Peter King, Chairman of the Australian Heritage Commission, were also signatories to the agreement.

During the signing ceremony, Ministers Hill and Smyth said that Canberra, as the National Capital, is a unique place where both governments have strong interests.

"Through co-operation and the sharing of information, we hope to streamline the processes to ensure efficiency and clarity", Minister Hill said.

"The goal is to have consistent, coordinated processes of heritage protection and listing, and ultimately, to have the databases of all heritage agencies linked together. The end result will be a system which is easy for heritage professionals, developers, governments and the public to use", he said.

The Memorandum aims to coordinate the identification, assessment, listing and conservation of heritage places in the ACT by:

"The Memorandum of Understanding signed today is a significant step forward in the pursuit of greater co-operation between the States and the Commonwealth on heritage matters", Minister Smyth said.

"It is the most comprehensive agreement on heritage between the Commonwealth and a State or Territory and sets out guidelines for better protection and management of heritage places", Senator Hill said.

"The agreement formally recognises the high standards of the Australian Capital Territory's heritage listing processes.

"It entrusts the Territory to protect both cultural and natural heritage places which are part of our National Estate. It will reduce duplication between governments and lead the way for similar partnerships between the Commonwealth and other States and Territories", he said.

Media contacts:
Michele Parsons Australian Heritage Commission 02 6217 2181
Matt Brown Senator Hill's Office 02 6277 7640
Jo Elsom Minister Smyth's Office 02 6205 0062

May 28, 1998

Commonwealth of Australia