Regional Development Policy
The NSW community is under siege from mining and gas exploration that seems to have no bounds. Today there is not a single place in NSW where you can live and be guaranteed mining and gas development will not be allowed.
More than 25 councils across NSW have now passed motions against coal seam gas (CSG) mining in their local government area. Some motions declare a moratorium on coal seam gas, others are focussed on security of water issues, others request NSW government for consultation and transparency on plans before mining is approved.
Few people would be surprised to hear that the planning system is currently skewed in favour of big developers at the expense of environmental, social and cultural concerns, but the destruction that is its legacy continues to come to light. Construction of a KFC restaurant in Newcastle recently brought the issue of adequate protection of sites of significant Aboriginal heritage to broader notice.
The development was that of Australia’s largest KFC restaurant, built approximately one year ago. The site is located on Hunter Street in Newcastle west and was formerly occupied by the Palais Royale building, which was demolished in 2008. Disturbingly, this fast-food restaurant has been constructed over one of Australia’s most significant Aboriginal heritage sites.
By Ann Hardy, National Trust of Australia
Over the past few decades the implementation of heritage legislation has become ‘rubbery’ and the robust operation of the Heritage Act 1977 has declined with the role falling by the wayside for Governments during the 1990s and 2000s. This dismantling of heritage legislation coupled with real threats to heritage has led to the resurgence of conservation groups and many grassroots organisations in NSW are now active defenders of cultural heritage in NSW.