House debates

Monday, 8 February 2016

Questions without Notice

National Heritage Strategy

2:44 pm

Photo of Eric HutchinsonEric Hutchinson (Lyons, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for the Environment. As the minister is aware, my electorate of Lyons contains a number of significant properties on the National Heritage List. Can the minister please update the House on the recent launch of the National Heritage Strategy and, in particular, the potential for additional sources of funding for our nation's built heritage?

2:45 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for the Environment) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Lyons, who is really one of the great champions of heritage in this House. His electorate includes, I think, eight of the 104 sites on the National Heritage List, including the famous Port Arthur, Woolmers Estate and Brickendon House. He has worked on a bipartisan basis with the member for Werriwa in establishing the Friends of History and Heritage in this place. He asked in particular about funding and the National Heritage Strategy. In terms of funding, we made $1½ million available for the upgrade of the Port Arthur penitentiary. The iconic penitentiary site is one of Australia's great built heritage sites. When we came to office it was in disrepair and at risk of collapse. And in just over a year the $1½ million, which was administered by the authorities in Tasmania, delivered a building which was safe, secure and a new place of national pride in terms of heritage restoration. In addition, we have also supported Woolmers estate to the tune of $300,000 and Brickendon House with an $80,000 grant.

Perhaps more significantly going forward, the member asked about the National Heritage Strategy. One of the items in Australia's first ever National Heritage Strategy is the proposal for a National Heritage lottery. The member for Lyons has been working constructively across the chamber with the member for Werriwa. We are working towards bipartisan support for this idea, which would draw from the best of the UK heritage lottery and also from the Western Australian model. It is a chance to build significant, additional funds and have it injected into heritage, or heritage and the arts, in Australia. We have already spoken with state environment ministers at the meeting of environment ministers in December, and there was a very positive response. We have spoken with the National Trust, ICOMOS and the Federation Of Australian Historical Societies. We are hopeful that we can build and create a new innovative form of funding where we are developing, on the same basis as the UK and Western Australia, a national heritage lottery. We hope that there can be bipartisan support and that this will deliver new funds on an expanded basis to achieve more than what we have done with just Port Arthur, Woolmers and Brickendon and secure Australia's heritage on an ongoing basis for the coming century.