Last week the Greens launched their new heritage policy – a unique document that commits a national political party to the preservation of physical and cultural heritage in NSW communities. While the policy is a state level document heritage is an issue with significant overlap with local government and the policy will guide all Greens elected to Councils across NSW on the 8th of September. I had the pleasure of attending it’s launch along with fellow City of Sydney Council candidate De Brierley Newton, Greens MP David Shoebridge and legendary heritage activist Jack Mundey.
The policy seeks to remove the preservation of heritage from the hands of developers and their Ministerial mates in government and places the power in the hands of the community and a newly independent Heritage Office that is responsible to the Parliament rather than the minister for Planning.
Under the Greens policy community members can raise petitions of 5000 signatures at the local government level and 10,000 at the state level to give interim heritage protection to threatened sites and culture whilst more work is done either by a Council or the Heritage Office.
It is hard to imagine that just 25 years ago developer friendly elements of the City of Sydney were pushing to demolish the stately and beautiful QVB in order to construct a car park. Clearly we need to be ever vigilant.