Heritage Listing Lake Burley Griffin

Commonwealth bureaucratic mischief

People try hard to have faith in the federal government and its processes. When it comes to important matters, such as heritage, how can we expect the federal government to behave?

Here’s the answer: Quietly placed within the local daily paper on Wednesday, January 27, was a notice advertising for public comments on the assessment of Lake Burley Griffin and surrounds for inclusion in the Commonwealth Heritage List by the Australian Heritage Council.

Given how important this area is to the country and this city, you would imagine there would be extensive time for consultations.

Nope! The closing date is Friday, February 26.

The notice read:

Australian Government Australian Heritage Council, Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999


(a)  the Council is assessing whether Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands meets any of the Commonwealth Heritage criteria (a place must be an eligible Commonwealth place and have significant heritage value); and 

(b)  persons are invited to make comments to the Council on whether the place meets any of the Commonwealth Heritage criteria and whether it should be included in the Commonwealth Heritage List. 

Persons are invited to make comments in writing to the Council or seek further information on this assessment by emailing heritage@awe.gov.au   or by post at the following address by 26 February 2021: Australian Heritage Council GPO Box 858 CANBERRA ACT 2601

The Hon David Kemp AC, Chair Australian Heritage Council, 27 January 2021 

For the link to all the notices – try this: Public Notifications (environment.gov.au)

Then scroll down to number 105230.

Looking at the documentation online you will note that this whole process is a decade old.

Looking through the other potential listings, I suspect this bureaucracy works in mysterious ways. Who sets the priorities?

Back to the listing for the lake.

A big reminder to anyone who wants to have the lake and foreshores heritage listed and to be recognised internationally – please note the short period for consultations with the closing date – Friday, February 26


This article is a version of the piece originally published online with City News

Paul Costigan is an independent commentator and consultant on the visual arts, photography, urban design, environmental issues and everyday matters.


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