Hobart City Alderman Jeff Briscoe said today that the duplication of the assessment of heritage applications by both the Heritage Council and the Hobart City Council was “a waste of limited public funds available for heritage in this time of State budget restraints.”

“So I am calling upon the Government to do a review of the roles and responsibilities of the Heritage Council”.

“The considerable saving made, by allowing the HCC to assess heritage, could be applied to protecting our built heritage in a direct way as well as providing one simple process for any applicant.”

“This is in the context of my long standing passionate commitment to the preservation of the heritage of Hobart”

The call has been prompted by the Red Awning debate but has a wider application said Alderman Briscoe

Tonight the full Hobart City Council will consider the recommendations of the Development Services Committee who voted 4:1 to approve the red awnings on the old Savings Bank in Murray Street.

The Heritage Council has rejected the proposal and the applicants are currently appealing the refusal. The applicants also need the approval of the HCC to allow the awnings.

“At Hobart City there are professional heritage planners who are required under our planning scheme to assess applications. This process is duplicated at the Heritage Council at considerable expense to any applicant and the public purse “.

“One could see the value of having the heritage aspect of any application assessed by the Heritage Council in the smaller local councils that do not have the expertise of the larger Councils”

It has been revealed that it costs about 2 million dollars for the Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority each year. The HCC has assessed that it can do all the roles and responsibilities now vested with the Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority for $200,000. Recently the Government has indicated that they will wind up SCWA and return the role to the HCC.

“In a similar way the cost saving could be of the same order of magnitude if the roles of the Heritage Council were changed to allow the City Councils to assess their own heritage applications”