WA Senator calls on Government to reject ‘heritage vandalism’: division could face 30% cut
Media Release: Monday May 9th, 2011
The Australian Greens expressed grave concern today about reports that heritage funding is to be slashed by almost one third in tomorrow’s budget.
The Greens heritage spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, wrote to Minister Tony Burke on Friday in regards to the unconfirmed proposal that the Heritage Division of the Environment Department will have its budget reduced by $3.8 million – or 30 per cent ‐ next financial year.
“I have been contacted by a number of highly concerned constituents and organisations regarding proposed funding cuts and have asked the Minister to make the Government’s intentions clear,” said Senator Ludlam. “If the cut is on the cards, we want to know why.”
“The Heritage division is already under-funded. These cuts will see 30 jobs go and rip the guts out of the division’s ability to do its job – protecting this country’s heritage sites.”
Senator Ludlam said an internal departmental memo reportedly advised staff that the Australian Heritage Council’s work on assessments of new places for the national Heritage List will be reduced from 15 places to one, and work on other assessments already underway will cease.
“As it stands, only 107 of the 337 places on the Commonwealth Heritage List have management plans in place or being prepared. Of the 89 places on the National Heritage List only 40 have finalised plans, and nine places have no plans at all, including the Dampier Archipelago,” he said. “Slashing 30% of the funding will exacerbate an already dire situation.”
“The Australian Greens successfully negotiated for $60 million to be allocated for heritage conservation in last years’ economic stimulus package. Minister Burke’s own website states that this package created 2750 new jobs and funded 190 projects. The heritage portfolio offers a unique and sustainable area for job creation, conservation and education that should be developed by the Gillard government, not destroyed, which is essentially what these cuts would do,” said Senator Ludlam. “I have urged the Minister to reconsider any plan to reduce heritage funding.”
Media Contact: Giovanni Torre –