Welcome to the Federation of Australian Historical Societies 
Special e-Bulletin 

Published with the support of a Commonwealth Community Heritage and Icons Grant via the ACT Government

23rd June 2016

History, Heritage and the Federal Election
HISTORY, HERITAGE AND THE FEDERAL ELECTION
 
The FAHS is non-party political and over the years we have worked with all parties.

Prior to elections we invite major parties to present us with their history and heritage policies so that we can circulate them through our networks.
 
This year, we asked the Environment and Heritage Minister, the Shadow and the Greens spokesperson to respond to the general heritage questions below. Following are their responses.
 
We also asked the Arts Minister, the Shadow Minister and the Greens spokesperson to comment specifically on the funding contraction of our major cultural heritage and collecting institutions that has led to Trove being curtailed.
 
Finally, appended at the end is the Australia ICOMOS election statement.
 

GENERAL HERITAGE ISSUES – PARTIES ASKED TO RESPOND TO THESE
 
- Bipartisan support for the Australian Heritage Strategy.
 
- Bipartisan support for the introduction of a National Heritage Lottery.
 
- Bipartisan support for the Parliamentary Friends of History & Heritage.
 
- Stronger and clearer Heritage protection regimes, with the Commonwealth providing leadership rather than devolving too much to the States.
 
- Rebuilding of community heritage support and funding following the Chaplain’s case.
 
- Improved resourcing of the Commonwealth’s Heritage Division and the Australian Heritage Council.
 
- Improved public education and participation in history and heritage matters, and recognition of their significance to Australia as a nation.

 
COALITION RESPONSE
 
‘The Turnbull Government understands the importance of our extraordinary heritage. Our natural, Indigenous and historic heritage enhances our sense of place and national identity.........Read More

LABOR RESPONSE
 
‘A Shorten Labor Government will improve public education and participation in matters of heritage, because we recognise their significance to Australia. This will be done in part by ...... Read More 

GREENS RESPONSE
 
We were promised a response but nothing has been received at time of publication.


CULTURAL COLLECTION INSTITUTIONS AND TROVE
 
CULTURAL COLLECTION INSTITUTIONS AND TROVE - COALITION RESPONSE

‘The Turnbull Coalition team is committed to supporting the preservation and development of collections of importance to Australians. The national collecting institutions like the National Library ........Read More

CULTURAL COLLECTION INSTITUTIONS AND TROVE - LABOR RESPONSE
 
Shadow Arts Minister, Mark Dreyfus, QC, released the following statement: ‘A Shorten Labor Government will reverse the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s cruel cuts to Trove .........Read More 
  
CULTURAL COLLECTION INSTITUTIONS AND TROVE - GREENS RESPONSE
 
FAHS has received no response from the Greens, but their Arts’ spokeman’s website indicates that they are pledged to work towards restoration restoration of funding for the major cultural institutions.

http://adam-bandt.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/greens-release-plan-revive-australian-arts

AUSTRALIA ICOMOS ELECTION STATEMENT
 
Australia ICOMOS has released the following policy statement about heritage for the forthcoming election. 
 
Australia ICOMOS Interim Heritage Policy Federal Election 2016 
 
Australia ICOMOS is committed to providing leadership in the conservation of Australia's cultural heritage by developing and implementing standards, especially in research, education and  ...... Read More 
 
General Heritage Issues - Coalition Response

COALITION RESPONSE
 
'The Turnbull Government understands the importance of our extraordinary heritage. Our natural, Indigenous and historic heritage enhances our sense of place and national identity and makes a positive contribution to the nation's wellbeing.
 
We want to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to visit and enjoy our heritage places. They are extremely important to local economies in terms of jobs and tourism, which is why we made heritage protection one of the four fundamental pillars of our environment policy, along with clean air, clean land and clean water.
 
As part of our commitment to heritage, we created the $1.4 million Community Heritage and Icons Grants programme, with close to 40 heritage, community and ‘friends of’ groups around Australia so far benefiting from grants of up to $10,000 to engage with and promote our extraordinary national heritage sites.
 
This includes $80,000 a year to support the Federations of Australian Historical Societies and an extra $50,000 a year for the Australian Heritage Council to support and strengthen the heritage listing process.
 
We also included heritage as one of the priorities of the new Green Army programme, which provides teams of young people to work on projects that improve the environment or protect and restore our national heritage places. Green Army teams are now working or have completed work at dozens of heritage sites across Australia.
 
We provided more than $2.4 million to the world-heritage listed Port Arthur historic site, including a total of just over $2 million to carry out crucial stabilisation work on the iconic Penitentiary building and allow it to be re-opened it to the public and a further $345,000 over three years to enable Australia’s 11 World Heritage Convict Sites to employ an executive officer (based at Port Arthur) for the first time.
 
We also worked closely with the heritage community in the drafting of the first Australian Heritage Strategy - released in December last year - which outlines our vision and the actions we will take to support heritage over the next decade and beyond.
 
 If re-elected, the Turnbull Government will work to ensure that the targets and actions of the Australian Heritage Strategy are fully implemented.
 
Commitments in the Strategy include a more creative online presence for national heritage listed sites to raise awareness of the fascinating stories connected with our heritage places.
 
There will also be renewed focus on encouraging partnerships to boost tourism opportunities in the heritage sector and on fostering heritage skills and training to address the shortage of skilled workers.
 
The Strategy also commits to investigating a range of innovative new funding sources, including the feasibility of adapting the United Kingdom's national lottery model. If re-elected, the Turnbull Government will make it a priority to progress a National Lottery for Heritage.
 
The lottery will be structured to address the need for an additional funding stream for local and regional - as well as national - heritage projects.
 
We strongly support the Parliamentary Friends of History and Heritage and will be looking to re-launch that in the new parliamentary term.’


General Heritage Issues - Labor Response
LABOR RESPONSE
 
‘A Shorten Labor Government will improve public education and participation in matters of heritage, because we recognise their significance to Australia. This will be done in part by reinvigorating Australian Heritage Week - a week established by Labor as an annual celebration of Australia’s unique heritage.

The Australian Heritage Strategy released in December proposed the possibility of a heritage lottery which has a lot of people in the sector excited. Labor is supportive of a national lottery system and would ask the Department of the Environment to investigate if such a lottery would work in Australia.

Labor will investigate incentives or policy tools to encourage conservation of heritage places in private ownership. This would likely involve partnering with local councils.

Options to support training in the traditional skills in the heritage industry will also be explored by Labor.
As announced last week, if elected, a Shorten Labor Government will seek World Heritage listing for the Cape York Peninsula and the West Kimberley region, and will also seek to expand the listing of the Daintree Rainforest to include cultural values.

By identifying, protecting and managing our built, cultural and natural heritage, we conserve a valuable asset and ensure these places are experienced and enjoyed by future generations.’
Cultural Collections and Trove - Coalition Response
The Turnbull Coalition team is committed to supporting the preservation and development of collections of importance to Australians.
 
The national collecting institutions like the National Library of Australia are the repositories of our collective national memory and hold, share and celebrate our stories here and around the globe.

Collecting institutions make an invaluable contribution to Australian life and they will continue to do so, but Australia also faces a challenging fiscal environment and we must be responsible in dealing with this.
 
The Turnbull Coalition team is committed to budget repair and in order to achieve this, savings have been sought across government, including across the Arts portfolio. Significant efforts have been made to keep these reductions as small as possible.
 
Trove was developed, and is run by, the National Library of Australia through its existing resources. It is a decision for the National Library of Australia and its Council as to how they allocate their resources to meet the Library’s priorities.
 
Trove has successfully brought together content from libraries, museums, archives and other research organisations providing access to resources about and of interest to the Australian community.
 
We understand Australians continue to engage deeply with Trove and that Trove will continue to provide the Australian public with access to over 471 million items of information.
Cultural Collections and Trove - Labor Response
Shadow Arts Minister, Mark Dreyfus, QC, released the following statement:
 
A Shorten Labor Government will reverse the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s cruel cuts to Trove, allowing the National Library to continue providing its unique online collection of Australian culture and history for current and future generations.
 
Trove is an initiative of the National Library of Australia, and provides online access to collections of books, photographs, newspapers, maps and historical documents. It is one of the largest digital cultural collections in the world, used by everyone from academics, to schoolteachers, to historians.
 
Trove is essential national research infrastructure. It has some 471 million items available for free access, and has more than 20 million unique users every year. Museums, libraries, galleries, archives, historical societies and research bodies all across Australia access it every day.
 
The Abbott-Turnbull Government has stripped $37 million from our national institutions, including the National Library, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and the National Archives of Australia. As a result of the nearly $6 million cut from the National Library, it has no longer been able to provide staffing to add new content to Trove.
 
Failure to support and invest in this national resource is a poor decision in the digital world of the twenty-first century. The destruction of an innovative resource like Trove works against Australia’s transition to a knowledge-based economy.
 
Labor cares about our national institutions and the maintenance of Trove as a living information resource. We will deliver $3 million a year over four years so it can resume adding new content to Trove and keep building on its success.
 
The destruction of Trove is yet another area where Prime Minister Turnbull says one thing and does another. He says he supports Australian arts and culture, and encourages innovation and creativity. Yet he is happy to destroy a precious information resource.
 
Labor is the party of arts and culture and we will stand up to protect Trove.
 
If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will restore the arts and creative industries to their rightful place in Australia’s cultural and economic life. Our plan for a more creative Australia includes:
 
  • Restoring the standing of the Australia Council for the Arts by providing new funding from 2017, closing the Turnbull Government’s ministerial slush fund called Catalyst and returning all remaining money to the independent Australia Council.
  • Supporting local drama production by the ABC. New funding for local drama will foster creative skills development for Australian writers, producers and actors and will help to reinvigorate the local screen industry.
  • Increasing the Regional Arts Fund over four years, increasing employment and professional development opportunities for regional and remote artists.
  • Investing in Australia’s contemporary live music industry by bringing the Live Music Office and the Australian Music Centre under the umbrella of an expanded Sounds Australia to support the development of Australia’s live music export industry.
For more information on Labor’s plans to properly fund Trove, visit:www.100positivepolicies.org.au/restoring_trove_fact_sheet
 Cultural Collections and Trove - Greens Response
FAHS has received no response from the Greens, but their Arts’ spokeman’s website indicates that they are pledged to work towards restoration of funding for the major cultural institutions.

http://adam-bandt.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/greens-release-plan-revive-australian-arts
Australia ICOMOS Election Statement
Australia ICOMOS has released the following policy statement about heritage for the forthcoming election. 
 
 Australia ICOMOS Interim Heritage Policy Federal Election 2016 
 
Australia ICOMOS is committed to providing leadership in the conservation of Australia's cultural heritage by developing and implementing standards, especially in research, education and training, and by influencing decision-makers. Through consultation with our members Australia ICOMOS has arrived at an interim list of key heritage issues.
  
The five heritage issues we believe most require immediate attention from a Federal Government are listed below. A more detailed list can be found on our website at: http://australia.icomos.org/about-us/heritage-policies
 
1. Reinstating of the National Cultural Heritage Forum and/or the ‘Friends of Heritage’ forum for ‘not for profit’ heritage bodies to meet with Heritage Chairs and Officials from all levels of Government and to provide input to implementation of an Australian Heritage Strategy.
 
2. Preparation of an Australian Heritage Quality Framework - leading to improved monitoring, quality and training across all types and levels of cultural heritage (including traditional trades).
 
3. Continuation of funding for Trove and other valuable research institutions and resources, and promotion of their potential for research and for heritage interpretation.
 
4. Development of innovative funding, incentives, resource sharing and creative partnerships for all levels and types of cultural heritage (including serious consideration of a National Heritage Lottery).
 
5. Commissioning of theme-based cultural heritage studies to identify gaps in the National Heritage List (and assist with the identification of cultural places for Australia’s World Heritage tentative list).
 
Through action on these key issues a Federal Government would not only improve the sustainability of our cultural heritage for present and future generations but also ensure that Australia continues to take a leading role in heritage conservation in the Asia Pacific region. 
 
For further information please contact the Australia ICOMOS Secretariat: +61 3 9251 7131 austicomos@deakin.edu.au
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Special e-Bulletin, 23rd June 2016
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