The Yarralumla Residents Association supports the views of senior heritage experts and the Inner South Canberra Community Council, who are urging the Commonwealth to push ahead with recognition of Canberra on the National Heritage List.
As pointed out by the immediate past chairman of the ACT Heritage Council, Duncan Marshall, Canberra has played such a central role in Australia’s story that “you couldn’t have a credible National Heritage List without Canberra on it.”
It is disingenuous to claim that existing ACT Government planning rules will be sufficient to protect nationally significant areas in Canberra. The ACT Government has shown an appetite to sweep aside its own planning rules and policies to progress particular developments.
Look no further than the proposed Brickworks and environs development proposal. The ACT Government’s Land Development Agency (LDA) plans to build a road that will cut off up to 20 percent of heritage listed Dunrossil Drive that leads to Government House, fell up to 30 of the heritage listed elm trees on that Drive, demolish ridges on either side of the entrance to the Drive, and defile the landscape setting through massive earthworks. In other words, it shows no respect for the national significance of that place, which is the setting for the home of Australia’s head of state.
It is worrying that there are moves to try to reduce the planning responsibilities of the National Capital Authority (NCA) vis-à-vis the ACT Government. An exposure draft of a revised National Capital Plan will be released on 3 June. We expect that the ACT Government will seek to maximize its planning responsibilities through this process. If the NCA’s role is watered down, and the heritage listing of Canberra is not approved, there will be nothing to stop open slather on the core fabric of the national capital.
For these reasons, the Yarralumla Residents Association supports the heritage listing of those parts of Canberra that make it the unique national capital that it is, and that contribute also to its global significance.