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November 13, 2021

In early 2018, prior to the last State Election, David Speirs, now Minister responsible for State Heritage, made a ‘public commitment to work in partnership with the National Trust’ and asserted that ‘The National Trust has the potential to be a great custodian of our heritage places, and has the experience, resources and commitment to deliver the best stewardship for our state’s heritage’ (‘Heritage Living’, Summer 2018, NTSA).

But now, as another Election approaches, Minister Speirs and Planning Minister Vickie Chapman are singing a different song.

The Liberal Government seems intent on alienating the community from its connection and access to our history and heritage.  We have seen the actual or threatened demolition of several state heritage listed items: the Victor Harbor causeway, the Waite gatehouse, the Prospect horse tram barn and incursions into the state heritage precincts of Hahndorf and Colonel Light Gardens.

Worse still, Minister Speirs and his Government have hatched plans to irrevocably alter and devalue the heritage status of two of our most important historic and cultural icons, Martindale Hall and Ayers House.   These proposals will be resisted and have provoked widespread condemnation and pushback in petitions, media exposures and community responses across the public of South Australia.

I urge you to support, download and recruit signatures on ongoing Petitions to parliament seeking to protect both Martindale Hall and Ayers House.

The most recent, and blatant, attack on our treasured historic environment is the Government’s ‘Riverbank Precinct Code Amendment’ which will alienate 10% of the Adelaide Parklands for commercial enterprise and high rise development along both sides of the river.

Our Parklands are recognised in the National Heritage Register but the most recent application for State Heritage status has sat on Minister Speirs’ desk for more than two years.  The reasons for this are now clear with the proposed re-zoning of the Riverbank for virtually unfettered development.

Greens MP Robert Simms has introduced an Adelaide Park Lands Amendment Bill into the Upper House which requires any development on the Parklands to be approved by both Houses of Parliament.  Please write to Robert and express your support for his Bill.

It is not only our state heritage that is under attack.   The new Planning and Design Code, largely constructed around the requirements of the property and development industry, is systematically degrading our built and natural environment.

The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act and its Code has spawned a State Planning Commission and State Commission Assessment Panel which oversees weakened protection for local heritage and historic character areas, crowded urban infill, overbearing suburban high-rise development and the abrogation of community and individual rights in planning processes.

The clear message to the Electorate is that this Government cannot be trusted to preserve our historic precincts and our heritage.   This message must now be sheeted home to political parties and parliamentarians.

I urge you to contact your State MP and express your concern at the escalating erosion of our Park Lands and the progressive intrusion of unsightly and unnecessary development into our open space and lived amenity.

Thank you for your support.

Warren Jones 
Convenor, Protect our Heritage Alliance

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