Greens response to National Trust election questions

Attention: Dr Graeme Blackman OAM
Chairman, National Trust of Australia (Victoria)

Dear Dr Blackman

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to The National Trust election questions dated 28 August 2014.

1.        Will you commit to reform of the Heritage Act?

My Greens colleagues and I have been vocal in Victorian Parliament to support any strengthening of the Heritage Act (for example, increasing fines) and opposing the erosion of the Heritage Act, for example in the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act.

We support the reform and strengthening of the Heritage Act, whatever the outcome of the Total House case.

Your survey outlines a proposal to streamline the process by moving the issuing of heritage permits to the Planning and Environment Act with Heritage Victoria as a statutory referral authority.  We will support this reform if it strengthens heritage protection.

2.        Will you commit to the reinstatement of funding for the Heritage Advisory Services program

The Greens support the modest funding proposal of $350,000 to reinstate Heritage Advisory Services and the expansion of the program to $500,000.

3.        Will you commit to $50M investment in the repair and reuse of the Administration Building at Flinders Street Station and its activation as a retail, business and community start-up facility?

The Greens support the repair and reuse of the Administration Building at Flinders Street Station.  We support your proposal in principle, but we would need to see a detailed plan before committing to the project.

4.        Will you commit to statutory support for the protection of Melbourne’s Marvelous Modernism?

Yes. In our view, it was inappropriate for the Minister to have sidelined the work of the work done by heritage experts, Melbourne City Council and the independent panel. The Minister’s media comments indicated that his reasons amounted to a personal preference against modernist (and some brutalist) architecture.  We are losing much of the city’s important heritage fabric in these days of unprecedented development activity, and yet the Minister has gone on strike rather than face up to his responsibilities on heritage.

5.        Will you commit to a plan B for the Quarantine Station at Point Nepean?

The Greens will move to overturn the planning decision for commercial development of Point Nepean National Park. In the next parliament, if no party has complete power in the upper house, we will use parliament’s disallowance powers to stop the planning scheme changes being finalised.

Yours sincerely,

Greg Barber MLC
Leader of the Victorian Greens


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