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Recommendations 2003 - Cultural heritage Index of recommendations
Recommendation 6.1: Strategic Cultural Heritage Management Index of 2003 recommendations

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Key issues

What has been achieved 1998-2003

Tasmania Together

Related Issue Reports


To enhance the capacity to identify and conserve heritage values through a systematic and repeatable process for assessing cultural heritage conditions and trends and prioritising cultural heritage management.


It is recommended that:

  • cultural heritage managers assess and evaluate the strategic process for the integrated identification and assessment of cultural heritage protection priorities currently being developed by the State Government and the University of Tasmania (as trialed in this SoE Report);
  • the heritage policy and management implications of the strategic process are identified;
  • subject to the successful evaluation of the strategic process, management approaches are implemented to respond to priorities identified; and
  • subject to the successful implementation of the strategic process, a wider application of the process is undertaken to provide a greater coverage of cultural heritage items for the next SoE Report.

Complementary to this, it is also recommended that:

  • comprehensive historical studies, heritage research and audits at the region, city, town or neighbourhood scale are used to augment current listing of significant places; and
  • consideration is given to linking all registers and lists of State and Local Government cultural heritage to provide a 'one-stop-shop' that enables access to the information by the public, clients, stakeholders and data custodians.

Key issues

Cultural heritage contains information of an aesthetic, historic, scientific, social or spiritual value for past, present or future generations. There is a continuing need to assess the significance, condition and trends of cultural heritage and the role it plays in the occupation of the land, in the economy, technology, arts, sciences and social movements. Such assessments form the basis of management decisions to protect and impart the meanings of Tasmania's heritage values to the community.

As a regulatory tool, listing of significant places remains the dominant vehicle for the protection of heritage. Government and regulatory bodies continue to pursue comprehensive historical studies as opportunities and resources arise. The Tasmanian Heritage Council is pursuing the expansion of the Tasmanian Heritage Register.

The first SoE Report identified the need for reliable and repeatable measures to track conditions and trends in cultural heritage, and to be able to apply these measures to heritage management.

The current SoE Report has presented a strategic and systematic process for the integrated identification and assessment of cultural heritage protection priorities. The process is currently being developed collaboratively between the Tasmanian Government and The University of Tasmania in response to the issues raised and recommendations presented in the previous SoE Report. It is described in detail within the Cultural Heritage Chapter, with a brief outline presented here, including links to relevant issue reports.

The process involves procedures adapted from the framework originally created to look objectively at natural heritage values on private land drawn up as part of the Regional Forest Agreement. It relies upon identifying groups of heritage items thematically, and grouping them geographically or typologically, to assist in determining the comparative conservation needs of this heritage.

The process also builds on the Burra Charter of the Australian component of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). This Charter provides guidance for the conservation and management of places of cultural significance (cultural heritage places), and recognises the need to involve people in the decision-making process, particularly those that have strong associations with a place.

The approach involves a simple integrated system for collecting data and conducting a comparative analysis to produce key indicators of the condition and pressure of all aspects of Tasmania's cultural heritage, not just cultural heritage places. It is hoped that these will encourage the collection of standardised electronic data at State level, providing the necessary meta-information to facilitate a co-ordinated response to the problems of cultural heritage management. If the same indicators are used, Statewide data can be assembled without imposing undue burdens on limited resources.

The first stage of the process entails 'mapping' significant themes in Tasmania's history, and identifying and assessing the condition and pressure of surviving expressions of these themes, such as:

The social and contemporary significance of each of these cultural heritage categories is also determined and the need for a response is ranked. The condition and rarity of the heritage items within a category, and the threats they are subject to, are separtely assessed. The assessment system is designed to be applied flexibly either across category levels, or for items within each category.

The second stage supplements the understanding of the condition of surviving heritage items, through investigation of the capability of agencies and individuals to respond to emerging heritage issues.

This process identifies the areas and the heritage items likely to be most suitable for conservation management and to progressively update priorities based on progress in identifying and securing appropriate areas and other heritage items for protection and active management.

To date, not all aspects of the strategic and systematic process have been developed. It must be considered as a work in progress and can be built on if adopted as a strategic policy initiative.

Adoption of a strategic and systematic process for management of heritage should enfranchise the community in managing their heritage. It should achieve this overarching goal of heritage management by fostering an accountable, transparent, accessible, and ultimately broad-based heritage management environment. It would provide a way in which the community and planners are able to help achieve the goals outlined in Tasmania Together.

What has been achieved 1998-2003

The strategic process presented in this SoE Report is generating considerable interest from other Australian States. A peer reviewed Australian Research Council Linkage Grant has been awarded to the project to trial the methodology of the new system in an assessment of the Willow Court historic precinct (an 18 ha site of Australia's longest continually operating mental institution).

Other key initiatives that have helped to improve the identification and conservation of cultural heritage values in Tasmania since the previous SoE Report include the following.

  • The Tasmanian Heritage Council has been formed under the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995. Support for the Council was initially provided by the Tasmanian Heritage Council Secretariat and is now provided by the Department of Tourism, Parks, Heritage and Arts (DTPHA). The Council functions as a heritage advisory group to State and local government, and private individuals in the appropriate care of Tasmania's historic heritage.
  • The Aboriginal Heritage Office now provides a more formal advisory service to State government agencies, local government and private individuals in relation to Aboriginal cultural heritage issues.
  • The Tasmanian Heritage Register has been established under the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995, and provides a State inventory of significant heritage buildings. The State Government has indicated that continued expansion of the Register under the Act is a priority action. There are about 5,500 places on the Tasmanian Heritage Register (as at October 2003).
  • The Heritage Fund, established under the Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995, provides a significant resource for the proper care, conservation and maintenance of the community's heritage.
  • The Heritage Review 2000 has been conducted, providing several recommendations on cultural heritage in Tasmania to the State Governmen. For example, DTPHA has been requested by Government to link all registers applicable to the State and provide a one-stop-shop for accessing those registers.
  • A review of the Tasmanian Historic Cultural Heritage Act 1995 has recently been announced by the State Government. The Act was developed in the early 1990s and was promulgated in 1996. The review is to consider how the Act presently operates and identify any problems there might be in administering the legislation. It will also recommend to the Government what might be done to improve the legislation and its administration. A review committee has been established and its terms of reference defined. These terms of reference include specific reference to consideration of built heritage (item 6).
  • There have been some improvements in the heritage provisions within many planning schemes held by local councils around the State, through the inclusion and/or improvement of: heritage sections, development standards, heritage lists, controls on use and development in surrounding areas, and provision for heritage advisory committees (see Planning Scheme Provisions Issue Report). There are still many planning schemes, however, that lack adequate heritage provisions.

Tasmania Together

Relevant Tasmania Together goals and standards for 'Cultural Heritage' are listed in the linked file. The Tasmania Together Progress Board reported on progress toward targets for benchmarks set (Tasmania Together Progress Board 2003). Indicators, targets and baseline data are available in the latest Progress Report June 2003. Further information, including progress report updates, is available from Tasmania Together.

Related Issue Reports

Chapter Title

Issue Report Title

Cultural Heritage

Heritage Places and Features

Cultural Landscapes

Planning Scheme Provisions

Social and Contemporary Significance

Archival Material

Heritage Objects

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