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

Major Heritage Consultation Paper Released

16 April 1999 (28/99)

A National Strategy for Australia's Heritage Places - a Commonwealth Consultation Paper

The Commonwealth Government has released a consultation paper as part of the development of a National Heritage Places Strategy for Australia, Federal Environment and Heritage Minister, Robert Hill, announced today.

"As part of the 1997 COAG Agreement on Commonwealth-State responsibilities for the environment, governments agreed to develop, for the first time, a national strategy for Australia's heritage," Senator Hill said.

"We recognised there was a need for such a strategy to improve the way we manage and conserve our nation's heritage assets. We came to office inheriting existing arrangements that are categorised by a lack of an overarching national heritage policy, duplication in heritage laws and processes between the Commonwealth and the States. Other limitations include gaps in protection, community confusion about the various heritage regimes and lists, and a lack of real protection for many important heritage places on the Register of the National Estate.

"The National Heritage Places Strategy will be designed to address these types of problems to ensure that our unique heritage is better understood and protected. A key aspect of the consultation paper is a proposal for the Commonwealth to establish a new list of heritage places that are of national significance," he said.

"There are also proposals for a national heritage inventory that will bring together, for the first time, all of the heritage registers maintained by governments and non-government organisations working in the field.

"The consultation paper also proposes standards to guide all governments in the protection and administration of heritage places." .

Senator Hill said that this Commonwealth consultation paper includes input from State and Territory governments, although no governments have endorsed the details of the proposals.

"Discussions will continue between the Commonwealth and States to finalise the Strategy taking into account the public submissions received in response to the consultation paper," he said. .

"The consultation paper also includes many of the recommendations that were made by stakeholders at the National Heritage Convention convened by the Australian Heritage Commission in August last year. .

"All Australians have an interest and stake in the protection of Australia's heritage and I would encourage members of the community to read and respond to the consultation paper during the weeks ahead," Senator Hill said. .

Media contact:
Rod Bruem 02 62 77 7640 or 041 112 8582

Commonwealth of Australia