Sustainable Australia MP Clifford Hayes will fight for a Parliamentary Inquiry into Heritage Protection, in wake of the State Government’s continued failure to protect Melbourne’s historic homes.
It comes in response to the demolition of a 1966 Brighton home designed by architect Geoffrey Woodfall. Meanwhile, a Beaumaris mid-century home designed by architect Charles Bricknell was also demolished, despite objections from the National Trust.
Mr Hayes, who was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council on a platform of protecting heritage and stopping overdevelopment, has already discussed the issue with his Crossbench colleagues and has devised the following draft Terms of Reference.
1. The adequacy of the existing arrangements for heritage protection in Victoria.
2. Whether there should be a Federal Minister for Heritage, and a Federal Department for Heritage.
3. Whether Heritage Protection should be separated from Planning, with a separate Minister and a separate Department.
4. Whether there should be a separate Victorian Heritage Tribunal, rather than having heritage decisions and appeals go to VCAT.
5. Whether developers should be required to pay for independent heritage advice on any building they propose to demolish, but not be permitted to appoint the heritage expert.
6. Whether Councils should have their own Heritage Departments outside the Council’s Planning Division, which promote local heritage and maintain lists of independent heritage advisers.
7. Whether current penalties for illegal demolitions, such as the Corkman Hotel demolition, and illegal tree removals, are a sufficient deterrent.
8. Whether buildings which have been altered still have ongoing heritage significance and value.
9. Whether the current two levels of heritage protection (contributory, and significant) are sufficient, and examine the practice in other jurisdictions concerning levels of heritage protection.
“Another unfortunate casualty of the Coronavirus is that the building and construction industry is taking advantage of the pandemic to further destroy our heritage,” Mr Hayes said.
“Sadly, our heritage is being destroyed at an alarming rate, driven by greed and an obsession to facilitate rapid population growth.
"Our beautiful Victorian and Edwardian era homes are being torn down to pave the way for concrete monstrosities.
“We need to reflect on whether the current rate of demolition of heritage buildings is really what this government and this Parliament will want to be remembered for."