Government Could Use Lottery to Protect Natural Heritage Sites
10 December 2015 at 11:53 am
The Turnbull Government has suggested that a national lottery could be introduced in an effort to save heritage listed sites.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt said that a lottery had the potential to raise up to $780 million and that money could help preserve Australia’s natural heritage.
In releasing the Australian Heritage Strategy, which outlined the Government’s priorities for the next decade, Hunt said a UK-style lottery should be looked at.
“A range of innovative new funding sources will… be explored, including the feasibility of adapting the United Kingdom's national lottery model, which this year alone generated a staggering $780 million (375 million pounds) for heritage projects across the UK,” Hunt said.
“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.”
In the UK, the National Lottery system passes part of every pound spent on tickets onto charitable causes, the arts, health, education and the environment.
Hunt said the Government was committed to protecting important environmental areas.
“Our natural, Indigenous and historic heritage enhances our sense of place and national identity and makes a positive contribution to the nation's wellbeing,” he said.
“Australia's world and national heritage places also create strong economic returns for their owners and managers, as well as surrounding communities.
“A study of 15 World Heritage sites in Australia found that the economic benefit of these sites amounted to $15.4 billion in annual turnover and over 79,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“This strategy highlights the need for heritage management to be a shared responsibility between national, state and local governments, private owners, businesses and the local community.”
But the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) slammed Hunt’s strategy as a “missed opportunity”.
NSWALC Chair, Roy Ah-See, said the Strategy did not contain comprehensive or tangible actions and failed to commit to any significant new programs, resources or funding to protect Aboriginal heritage.
“The proposed actions in the Strategy that relate to Indigenous heritage are very limited,” Ah-See said.
“They include publishing an updated guide on consultation with Indigenous peoples, a Green Army to work with traditional owners and increasing the philanthropic focus on heritage.”
Ah-See said the Federal Government needed to provide further details on the proposed UK-style lottery system and make a commitment to not move away from its responsibilities to protect Aboriginal culture and heritage.
“The Strategy also mentions conducting a review of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act, which was reviewed in 2009 with no outcomes at the end of the process,” he said.
“The current laws and policies are already inadequate and the National Heritage Strategy fails to address the ongoing damage and destruction of Aboriginal heritage across New South Wales.
“The National Heritage Strategy is a missed opportunity for the Federal Government to show leadership and implement its responsibilities in line with its international commitments.
“We need strong legislation and programs that are developed in consultation with Aboriginal people to ensure our culture and heritage is protected and promoted.”