Minister has no choice but to protect the heritage value of the Scenic Hills

22 May 2019

Member for Macquarie Fields Anoulack Chanthivong MP says the Liberal Government has no option but to heritage list land surrounding Varroville Homestead in the Scenic Hills.

An impartial report by the Independent Planning Commission has backed the Heritage Council’s recommendation to list an extension of the land surrounding Varroville Homestead on the State Heritage Register.

It is now 18 months since the NSW Heritage Council first recommended that the Minister list the land, which would add to the homestead and land already listed and deemed as historically significant.

“The case for heritage listing of the land at Varroville is clear,” Mr Chanthivong said. “The Minister has no option but to protect Varroville Homestead and its surrounding land.”

“The Scenic Hills provide a unique and stunning backdrop to our city that is being hit hard by overdevelopment.  It is crucial we have ongoing protection of this important site that has major heritage significance and provides valuable open space for our growing community.”

The Heritage Council made its recommendation in October 2017. A year later the then Heritage Minister Gabrielle Upton asked the Independent Planning Commission to review the case – despite legislation requiring action within 14 days of a Heritage Council recommendation.

The independent report by the Commission was recently released publicly and found:

  • “That the submissions made to the IPC during its review, do not affect the integrity of the assessment undertaken by the Heritage Council of NSW or its recommendation to list the proposed curtilage.”
  • “That none of the evidence or submissions that it considered leads to the conclusion that the Heritage Council’s recommendation is flawed or should not be followed.”
  • “The recommendation to list a recommended curtilage extension of Varroville, as proposed by the Heritage Council of NSW, is appropriate.”

“The previous Minister was derelict in her duty to make a decision on this matter,” Mr Chanthivong said. “Don Harwin now has responsibility for heritage listings under his Arts portfolio and our local community expects him to do the right thing and protect our Scenic Hills.”