Image courtesy David Flannery
Once a year the Heritage
Chairs and Officials of Australia and New Zealand (HCOANZ), representing every
State and Territory in Australia, the Commonwealth and Heritage New
For the first time representatives of Aboriginal and
Indigenous Heritage Councils and Officials were joined in the 2018 series of meetings,
site visits and events with local dignitaries that culminated in a decision to
restructure this forum to become a national cultural heritage forum.
This decision was symbolic of the desire on the part of all
of those present to recognise cultural heritage in a more holistic manner, and
a way that fosters greater collaboration and communication between a wider
group of representatives of statutory cultural heritage bodies.
A site visit to Kakadu National Park showcased some of the
outstanding features that resulted in this ancient Aboriginal and natural
heritage landscape being inscribed on the World Heritage List. Exposure to
the stories of this ancient landscape, ancient rock art, Yellow Water River,
cultural practices and insights into the joint management of this vast area
illustrated many of the opportunities and challenges involved.
Jurisdictional reports and presentations gave those present
the opportunity to share strategic, statutory and operational insights. Ms
Brett Torossi, Chair of the Tasmanian Heritage Council, used this opportunity
to highlight some of the Tasmanian Heritage Council's latest developments and
provide a sneak-preview of its innovative, and recently-released,
publication, The Voice: Reimagine Tasmanian Heritage.
The Voice: Reimagine Tasmanian Heritage (1Mb)
'A gathering of this nature is a really important way by
which those responsible for the statutory management of our unique cultural
heritage places and stories come together to discuss matters of
national interest, share insights and align our collective effort' said Ms
'It gives the host the ability to showcase some of the
work they are doing, which helps to build knowledge and understanding, and it
also presents a unique chance to hold up a mirror to see how well we are
performing at a national level. I'm thrilled to report back that Tasmania is
tracking really well.
'The decision to form a single unified national cultural
heritage body is an important step in recognising the tremendous importance of
Australia's heritage to local communities and the visitor economy right across
‘This move also reflects steps towards greater
collaboration between the Aboriginal Heritage Council and the Tasmanian
Heritage Council. This process has started with exploration of how places with
interwoven and shared values might be recognised and managed.
The HCOANZ meeting also included an update on a number of new
initiatives, such as the new Commonwealth Australian Heritage Grants
This initiative is worth $5.3 Million per annum and will
release funds to recognise and manage places of Aboriginal, historic and
natural heritage value on the National Heritage List. It replaces the Protecting
National Historic Sites and National Trust Partnerships programs.
For more information on HCOANZ or to obtain occasional
updates on national initiatives and effort go to: www.environment.gov.au.