‘Government’s heritage adviser warns against War Memorial redevelopment‘, Australian Financial Review, 4 October 2020 updated (pdf from our subscription)
Riffs off submission No. 152 to the Memorial’s EPBC Act consultation (Download Preliminary Documentation Public Comment). The Australian Heritage Council is the government’s principal adviser on heritage matters. It is chaired by former Cabinet Minister, Dr David Kemp AC, and its members include experts on historic, natural and Indigenous heritage.
The article summarises the Council’s submission and quotes its parting shot: ‘Regrettably the council cannot support the conclusion that the proposed redevelopment will not have a serious impact on the listed heritage values of the site and recommends that the matters above be given serious attention’. Among other points the Council suggested that operational changes and better use of technology could more effectively use the existing footprint, without the need for larger exhibition spaces.
It is notable that all submitters in the EPBC process were given a choice about how their submission would be published. It was open to the Council to specify that its submission be made available only to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. It did not so specify.
Updated 14 October 2020: Sarah Basford Canales in Canberra Times contrasts AHC view with AWM’s (paid for) heritage impact statement. Pdf from our subscription.
Update 19 October 2020: The Riot Act.
Update 20 October 2020: Architecture.au.
Update 22 October 2020: Related letter to editor from former Memorial Director, Brendon Kelson, containing options for development (pdf from our subscription).
Update 23 October 2020: Open letter to PM from more than 70 Australians, supporting AHC submission.
The AWM had these comments from the AHC and chose to ignore them. That is an extraordinary position for an organisation with responsibility for Commonwealth heritage. The question now is will DAWE do the same.