The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) is in an exciting phase of rejuvenation and we want to share our heritage news and advocacy actions with our members, followers and supporters. This is the first edition of our new e-newsletter, The Heritage Advocate.
This quarterly newsletter will outline our heritage and advocacy work. Of course, the best way to stay up-to-date is to become a member! We are a member-based charity – we rely on our membership fees to directly support our heritage and advocacy work. There is a huge range of benefits you receive if you become a member! Visit our website to find out more and join.
All about Advocacy – What is Heritage Advocacy?
Advocacy is one of the most important aspects of the National Trust’s work. But what is advocacy? Advocacy involves action – it is about people doing things to bring about awareness and change.
“Public support or recommendation of a particular cause or policy.”
Advocacy in practice:
Advocacy is action!
• Taking a lead
• Being initiators
• Sense of urgency
• More than just routine work
• Challenging accepted practices
“Advocacy involves great levels of effort for sometimes only small perceivable change”
Who are the Advocators?
Individuals talking about the issue to other individuals. Very informal advocacy.
Example: Individual NTAQ members talking to friends or family
A community-based movement to promote issues. Groups of people who band together and make a long-term, voluntary commitment to make a difference.
Example: NTAQ Branches and Properties
A formal organisation which aims to influence and change the system via legislation, policy and practice.
Example: Submissions, lobbying, heritage policy, heritage awards
Banding together with organisations that have similar aims and goals, allowing a stronger voice (greater strength in numbers) and the pooling of resources and influences.
Examples: Council of National Trusts.
“Advocacy involves action…it is about people doing things to bring about awareness and change”
Why do we advocate?
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Dr Seuss, The Lorax
We advocate because we care and because we believe that things should be better.
We advocate making others aware of and sympathetic to the problems and to potential solutions.
We advocate making it easy for others to change and to influence change.
We draw attention to the problems and we offer solutions.
Facilitators not Fighters
• Traditional advocacy was not neutral and was not about negotiation or mediation.
• Modern advocacy is based on negotiation, collaboration and facilitation.
“It is better to negotiate than be left out of the conversation”
• Strategic advocacy picks its battles and has clear aims:
– Chose battles where you can influence the most change with your resources
– Be prepared to negotiate
– Focus on raising awareness and respect
– Collaborate with as many “players in the game” as possible
– Keep positive: big losses often result in big changes
A Year in Summary – Our Advocacy Achievements 2017
We had some amazing achievements in 2017, vital on-the-ground-work is what keeps us relevant, make decisions, be aware of our influence and build our membership. Here is a summary of what we achieved in 2017!
• Submissions on proposed developments:
– Queen’s Wharf
– Brisbane Square
– 11 Herston Street Kangaroo Point
– 163 Charlotte St, Brisbane
• State Election Priority policy
– Provided to all members
– Posted 70 hard copies to candidates
– Follow up with 46 candidates
– Responses from all 3 major political parties with some commitments
• Submissions on 2 Queensland Heritage Register nominations
• Advocacy Committee expanded: 4 expert advisors join the committee
• Trust Talks launched – 2 seminars presented:
– Heritage Settings
– Idealism in Heritage
• National Trust of Australia (Queensland) Awards Gala Dinner
• Heritage Heroes program launched: first Heritage Hero site names (Howard Smith Wharves)
• National Trust Branch conference held in Toowoomba
To find out more about these Advocacy Achievements, access our full submissions and download our strategic plans, go to https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/advocacy-alerts/
Queensland’s heritage needs YOU! – Current campaigns and issues
We have a small but dedicated Advocacy team who work tirelessly to protect Queensland’s heritage, promote good development and educate people about the value of heritage.
There are constant demands on this team and they have to prioritise what they can support. Here is a sample of current campaigns that you can support by activating your voice and supporting our work.
You can access all our current campaigns at https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/advocacy-alerts/
Sinnamon Farm survives as a very early illustration a rural farming landscape with associated homestead, outbuildings and plantings. The proposed development of the site as a childcare facility includes relocating the homestead within the site, constructing an extremely large and dominant childcare facility, constructing a 2m high acoustic wall around the site and removing all the significant mature plantings.
The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) stance is that the proposed development is fundamentally incompatible with the site and importantly, with the site’s significance. The Heritage Impact Statement prepared for the development is misleading and does not adequately address the impact of the development of the site’s significance. We recommend that a more appropriate and compatible use of the site is found. Failing this, we recommend a complete revision of the Heritage Impact Statement and the proposed design in order to protect the significance of Sinnamon Farm and its rural setting.
•We have made a submission to Brisbane City Council regarding the proposed development and we have shared this submission with our 12,000 members via email and Facebook.
•We held an Emergency Community Action Meeting. This was attended by members of the local Historical Society, Sinnamon Family descendants, media and a local Councillor.
•We started an online petition which has reached nearly 2,000 signatures. You can sign the petition here https://www.change.org/p/brisbane-city-council-save-brisbane-s-sinnamon-farm-s-heritage?recruiter=850816059&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_petition
•We have created a template submission for people to download and sign – you can access the template here https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/advocacy-alert-bcc-da-645-seventeen-mile-rocks-road-sinnamon-park/
•We have met with the developers to give them an understanding of the Trust’s perspective and encourage better design
In 2017, Brisbane City Council approved via Code Assessable Development a proposed 8-storey retirement village on the property adjoining Conon. Conon, built in 1863 and lies to the east of Lutwyche Road. Unfortunately, heritage provisions were not triggered because the QHR listed boundary is not “adjacent” to the development site (under the, it has to be adjacent for the development to impact assessable). The grass lawn court has an adjoining boundary – but because it was owned by someone else when the QHR listing took place, it was not included in the heritage listed boundary.
Because the development was considered code assessable, there was no public notification of the project and the owners of Conon were not informed, nor were any other adjoining neighbours. There was no Statement of Heritage Impact prepared, thus the development was not designed to be sympathetic to Conon.
The development comprises a very large 8-storey retirement facility with most of the bulk and height on the side adjoining Conon. It will be clearly visible from inside the house and from within the grounds. It will tower behind the main elevation of Conon and significant views within the garden will be lost and overshadowed.
The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) encourages careful development with good design – we showcase the results of this with our annual Heritage Awards. We understand that most developments are balancing a myriad of issues and constraints and we welcome a collaborative approach with developers to assist with refining their designs so that the significance of our heritage is no adversely impacted by development.
We are not opposed to a retirement facility being built on the proposed site. However, we believe that the proposed development should have impact assessable so that the significance of Conon and its setting is retained and not negatively affected.
The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) believes that Brisbane City Council’s method of approving this development via code assessable development and involving no notification or public notification should not have occurred.
We recommend that a Stop Order be placed on the proposed development by the Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef so that the following actions can be taken:
• A thorough and robust Heritage Impact Statement is prepared by a qualified and suitably experienced heritage consultant;
• Community consultation is undertaken;
• A re-design of the project occurs, post Impact Statement, which provides an adequate buffer between the development and Conon and which steps the development back from the common boundary, so that the higher levels are further away from the significant setting and view lines.
For the first time in the history of the National Trust of Australia (Queensland), our organisation has requested that the Minister for the Environment and Great Barrier Reef place a Stop Order on the proposed development so that our recommended actions can take place.
We have requested the Stop Order via email and presented the letter to eth Minister’s office. We have informed our members via email and Facebook, and alerted the media to our stance.
The Minister has responded to our request for a Stop Order and will not be issuing a Stop Order.
The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) believes that this instance highlights an area of weakness in the current legislation with regard to the settings of heritage places. Whilst some changes were made to planning and heritage legislation due to proposed development adjacent to Customs House in Brisbane, the stance of the National Trust of Australia (Queensland) is that further work is required to adequately protect heritage places and their settings.
The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) particularly feels that amendments to Planning Regulations 2017 are needed to ensure that that development near (not simply “adjoining” as the current legislation states) places of State heritage significance is impact assessable. Furthermore, the Queensland Heritage Act should be amended to ensure that Stop Orders can be applied to developments that affect the heritage significance of nearby places and their settings
The Trust Talks
The Trust Talks aim to open the doors for Innovation, Collaboration and Celebration of our heritage. Each talk showcases some of the heritage industry’s brightest talents, who join us to examine the issues involved with protecting, conserving and celebrating our built, natural and cultural heritage.
The first event attracted nearly 70 people and was held at the beautiful United Service Club in Brisbane. Guests enjoyed drinks and canapes, a chat with colleagues and an evening of fascinating talks by our two presenters, Dr Andrew Sneddon and Dr MacLaren North from Extent heritage about finding the Room to Breathe: Managing the Setting of Heritage Places in our Crowded and Expanding Cities.
For our second The Trust Talks we went underground into the Springhill reservoir for light-hearted debate about a serious topic: “Head in the Cloudlands: Is there too much idealism in heritage?” A panel of archaeologists, heritage specialists, academics and architects provided a great evening of debate – and of course, idealism won!
Our third The Trust Talks was held outdoors in the Boggo Road Gaol to discuss the topic of Managing the Heritage of Wounded Places. With case studies of Ned Kelly’s Glenrowan and Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison, the Talk left many people with more questions than answers but started people thinking about how to manage this complex and challenging sites.
We are extremely grateful to Extent Heritage Advisors, whose generous sponsorship has allowed us to create this amazing series of events.