Majority of SA’s heritage could be de-listed under new planning laws

Today, Greens MLC Mark Parnell will be introducing a Bill into the SA Parliament to ensure that all currently recognised heritage properties and areas continue to be protected into the future, after recently discovering that nearly 12,000 heritage properties in South Australia could lose all legal protection under new State Government planning changes. 

The Government has warned that 11,965 properties, (which make up the bulk of heritage listings in the State), may not be included in heritage lists under new planning rules, which could come into operation as early as July this year.

According to one senior Departmental official who gave evidence to a Parliamentary Committee earlier this month, the Government is considering abolishing heritage lists of “contributory items”, which comprise the vast bulk of heritage listings for many Council areas.  A smaller number of properties listed as “local heritage” will be incorporated into the new scheme.

“Stripping heritage protection from over half the properties currently recognised in heritage lists would be an act of vandalism far worse than anything seen before in South Australia.  These historic places connect South Australians with our past and are a huge part of the charm of our city, towns and suburbs”, said Mark Parnell.

"To make matters worse, new planning laws will subject all existing heritage, historic or preservation zones to a vote of affected property owners to determine whether they will remain protected into the future.  This means that if 51% of local property owners vote against heritage, the zoning rules will be changed to make it easier to demolish historic homes.  This will put at risk much of inner suburban Adelaide including character suburbs in all inner and middle-ring local Council areas as well as further out in places like Gawler, Port Elliot or Goolwa.

The “51% rule” was supported back in 2016 by the Liberal, Family First and Xenophon parties. 

“Now that we are at the business end of transitioning to a new planning system, it’s time to put heritage decisions back into the hands of experts using recognised heritage criteria.  Nowhere else in Australia is planning policy decided by allowing only those with the biggest vested interest to vote.  It harks back to the old days of “property qualification” when only “men of property” were entitled to vote.  Heritage protection is for the benefit of the whole community and future generations, not just those who stand to make money by replacing heritage buildings with office blocks and apartment towers”, said Mark Parnell.

The Greens' Private Members Bill, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Code amendments) Amendment Bill 2019 will be introduced into the Upper House this afternoon.