Adelaide parklands state heritage area listing

24 September 2020

The Parklands and Squares of Adelaide are a unique characteristic for our city that provide essential green spaces for both us and nature to enjoy.

I was pleased to hear the Minister David Speirs MP reiterate the State Government's commitment to protecting these spaces and that the City of Adelaide are undertaking a potential listing bid to UNESCO World Heritage.


Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:04): My question is to the Minister for Environment and Water. Will the state government commit to recognising the Adelaide Parklands as a State Heritage Area and, if not, why not? Sir, with your leave and that of the house, I will further explain.

Mr DULUK: The Adelaide Parklands and city squares were nominated for heritage listing some 11 years ago. In more recent months, in December last year, the state Heritage Council recommended that the Adelaide Parklands be placed on the heritage protection area.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS (Minister for Environment and Water) (15:04): I thank the member for Waite for that question. I know he has a great interest in both environmental and heritage issues. It's a pleasure to work with him on issues as diverse as Belair National Park and Wittunga Botanic Garden, Brownhill Creek in his electorate and the many other matters that he regularly draws to my attention.

With regard to the state heritage listing of the Adelaide Parklands and also often bound up in that is the squares of Adelaide as well this is quite a technical matter and one that has been rightfully, as the member for Waite highlights, quite convoluted over an extended period of time. I understand that the Parklands have long been recognised from a heritage point of view at local government level and, in 2008, were recognised by the Australian government as having national heritage significance. But they have not had, to date, heritage listing at state level. That heritage listing at state level, if and when it comes, would be as a State Heritage Area.

One of the challenges here is that, in order to get a State Heritage Area listing, it would require an amendment approved by the Minister for Planning under the council's development plan. That is something that I wrote to the previous Minister for Planning about some months ago and received advice that the council would have to develop a conservation management plan proposing the area prior to that being approved, so it is quite a technical matter and one that is underway at the moment.

So that conservation management plan is being developed, I understand, in a partnership which is involving the Adelaide city council, also the Heritage Council which sits within my portfolio, with support from Heritage SA and also other stakeholders such as the Parklands preservation organisation. This work in progress will progress and I am sure will be completed in the coming months. It is a slow process that requires a significant body of evidence to be put together. But I do understand there have been a lot of studies undertaken over an extended period of time that can be used to inform that conservation management plan.

The process will then see a potential development plan amendment submitted to the planning minister and consideration given to that at the time, and that would then see the Adelaide Parklands protected at local, state and national levels. Of course, as members may be aware, there is also a process being undertaken by the Adelaide city council to potentially put forward, through the Australian government as a signatory to the World Heritage Convention, a potential listing bid to UNESCO for a world heritage listing for the Parklands.

I think I speak on behalf of all members of this house in recognising the incredible value and incredible foresight in terms of the planning of our capital city by the early European pioneers of this state. In creating those Parklands, they have left us with an immense legacy, one that is worth protecting. The state government is certainly committed to that and is working through the very technical process that I just outlined.