It is useful that deliberative democracy was recommended by the committee. Unfortunately the report recommends an overly prescriptive process, which duplicates the town planning process which is already in place for Canberra, just for one type of land use (a memorial) Instead the committee could have recommended applying the planning processes which are supposed to be used in Canberra for any land use and then just add the extra processes needed for deciding on national monuments.
- Preliminary pages: Contents, Foreword, Committee Membership, Terms of Reference, List of Abbreviations and List of Recommendations
List of recommendations
National Memorials Ordinance 1928
The JSCNCET recommends to the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government that, rather than attempting to amend the National Memorials Ordinance 1928, the Ordinance be repealed and replaced with a new Commemorative Works Act, as proposed in Chapter 4 of this report.
Reforming the process
The JSCNCET recommends to the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government that, while new systems are put in place, residents of the Australian Capital Territory be immediately appointed to the Canberra National Memorials Committee,
as required under the National Memorials Ordinance 1928; and that these persons have acknowledged expertise in heritage matters, with one to be a member of the ACT Heritage Council nominated by the ACT Chief
The JSCNCET recommends that, as part of the decision-making process for National Memorials, each proposal for a National Memorial be required to undergo heritage assessment, prior to final approval, including the creation of site specific Conservation Management Plans
and Heritage Impact Statements.
The JSCNCET recommends that the National Capital Authority’s Commitment to Community Engagement be applied to the decision-making process for National Memorials, with the NCA to report publicly on the
public consultation process undertaken with regard to each National Memorial proposal.
The JSCNCET recommends that proponents of memorials provide resources and funds to conduct public consultation processes as part of the assessment and approval process for new National Memorials.
The JSCNCET, recommends that the National Capital Authority review its Commitment to Community Engagement to reflect the principles of deliberative democracy, and that it design and report upon public
consultation processes for each National Memorial in accordance with these principles.
The JSCNCET recommends that the proposed Memorials Master Plan incorporate provisions for establishing a wider range of subjects for commemoration with a view to funding them through a combination of private and government subscription.
The JSCNCET recommends to the Australian Government that the Government consider the ongoing funding of a national commemoration program, with a particular focus on memorials that are unlikely to be built without government support.
The New Model
The JSCNCET recommends that the National Memorials Ordinance 1928 be repealed and replaced with an Australian Commemorative Works Act, based on the United States model. This Act would provide for a two-pass assessment process for National Memorials, the first pass focused on commemorative intent, the second pass on character and location; and that:
- At the first pass, a motion be introduced to Parliament to approve the commemorative intent of a proposed National Memorial.
- Following the introduction of the motion, the proposal be referred to the JSCNCET for consideration and report, based on the following approvals:
- the memorial proposal be referred to the National Memorials Advisory Committee—a Committee made up of history and heritage experts, with one ACT Government representative, chaired by the National Capital Authority—to ensure that it complied with the Criteria for Commemorative Works in the National Capital
- the National Capital Authority assess the proponent’s budget for the design, construction and maintenance of the proposed National Memorial, and capacity to finance the proposal.
- Once approved by the National Memorials Advisory Committee, and with financial arrangements certified by the National Capital Authority, the JSCNCET would report upon the proposal. The motion would proceed at the pleasure of Parliament, and if passed, the commemorative intent of the proposed National Memorial would be approved.
- Following passage of the motion establishing the commemorative intent of the proposed National Memorial, responsibility for identifying a location for the memorial and initiating a process for its design would pass to the National Capital Authority. This would require memorial proponents to develop a design completion brief and run a public design competition (if necessary); and undertake, in conjunction with the National Capital Authority, the following tasks:
- Identify possible locations
- Conduct mandatory public consultations
- Seek independent expert advice
- Seek planning advice from relevant authorities and, if required, advice from relevant government agencies
- Have assessments made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- Develop draft conservation management plans and/or heritage impact statements for proposed sites, if required
- Develop the budget and business plan for construction, maintenance and associated infrastructure costs.
- At the second pass, assessing design and location, the proposal would be referred to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories for consideration and approval on behalf of the Parliament. If required, the Committee would be able to invite submissions from the public and undertake public hearings.
- Second pass approval by the JSCNCET would provide the final approval for the proposed National Memorial.
- Commemorative works, as defined by the Act, could be initiated by the Commonwealth or ACT Governments.
The JSCNCET further recommends that the proposed Commemorative
Transitional Arrangements for Current Proposals
- Define a ‘commemorative work’, encompassing both National Memorials and National Monuments as currently defined.
- Establish a National Memorials Advisory Committee, consisting of recognised experts in a range of disciplines, including history, heritage, architecture and planning; representatives of veterans, the services and relevant Commonwealth Departments; representatives of organisations with a strong focus on Australian history and culture at a national level; one representative of the ACT Government, appointed on the recommendation of the ACT Chief Minister; and chaired by a representative of the National Capital Authority. Membership to vary depending on the nature of the proposed National Memorial.
- Include the Criteria for Commemorative Works in the National Capital as a schedule to the Act.
- Include a Memorials Master Plan, including a map of existing memorials and potential sites for new memorials in accordance with the Criteria, as a schedule to the Act.
- Require the National Capital Authority to maintain a register (published on a specific National Memorials website) of all National Memorial proposals, including their current status, and all relevant decisions and approvals, along with all supporting documentation, including:
- Independent expert advice
- Public submission
- Reports of public consultations
- Define responsibilities of proponents in meeting design, construction and maintenance costs, including providing ten per cent of the overall costs towards ongoing maintenance of the new National Memorial.
- Prohibit the appearance of donor names or names of relatives on or near National Memorials and National Monuments, except where the specific object of the commemoration—its commemorative intent— is individuals, families of groups that have been found to be worthy subjects of commemoration.
- Exclude minor commemorative works, such as plaques or individual trees outside the Parliamentary Zone, from its operation.
The JSCNCET recommends to the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government that the current approved National Memorial proposals stand for the life of their current site reservations, but that these site reservations not be extended beyond their current terms.From: Etched in Stone? report on the administration of National Memorials in Canberra, Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories, Australian Parliament, 23 November 2011.