At the request of the Government, the Legislative Assembly Social Issues Standing Committee commenced a review of the Heritage Act in May 2021, with a public submission period closing on 4 July 2021.
The process to date:
- the Government published a discussion paper in April 2021 to encourage public discussion and community input (the discussion paper reflects on the current heritage system, considers some alternatives and poses some questions to assist with public consultation)
- the Standing Committee published their report to the Government on 22 October 2021
- the Government response was released on 10 December 2021.
The inquiry (the review) looked at the effectiveness of the Heritage Act 1977 and the NSW heritage regulatory system, along with heritage aspects of the Environmental Protection and Assessment Act 1979. The Standing Committee review provided an opportunity for all key stakeholders and the broader community to have their say on government heritage policy, through over 300 public submissions and through five days of public hearings.
While noting that the intent of the Heritage Act is generally sound, the Standing Committee recommended 26 reforms to improve the operation of the Heritage Act and system more widely, to be more responsive to the needs of heritage owners and to deliver improved heritage conservation outcomes.
The Government response supports in full or in principle 25 out of 26 of the Committee’s recommendations.
The next steps
To respond to the recommendations of the Standing Committee, the Government has commenced drafting a Heritage Bill to amend the current Act, which will undergo further consultation.
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