A Greens motion calling for the national heritage nomination for listing of the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct, Australia's oldest existing female convict establishment, has passed the Senate. Meanwhile the NSW government is developing a master plan for the heritage precinct which paves the way for opening it up to commercial and residential development, says Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon.
"While Premier Barry O'Farrell is risking the integrity of this important heritage precinct by throwing the door open to commercial development, the Federal government has been dragging the chain on securing national heritage listing which would help protect it for future generations," Senator Rhiannon said.
"We hope the passing of this motion is a sign that the Federal Labor MP for Parramatta Ms Julie Owens will work with the Federal Minister for Heritage Tony Burke to achieve heritage listing for this important site.
"I have written to the Federal Minister responsible for heritage, Mr Tony Burke, and secured a meeting with him late in October to pursue the need for heritage listing, but time is running out to protect this special precinct.
"It is critical that the 1818-1848 Parramatta Female Factory site, the 1844-1886 Roman Catholic Orphan School and 1842 Parramatta Gaol, are returned to the people of Australia.
"In August I toured the precinct as a guest of the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Association and the Parramatta Female Factory Friends/Action Group. The insight the collection of buildings provide into our convict and social history is priceless," Senator Rhiannon said.
Greens Convenor of the Parramatta Greens Phil Bradley said, "It is baffling why Minister Burke has recently listed 15 post offices on the Commonwealth Heritage List but has not yet recognised the iconic Parramatta Factory Precinct which is more precious than each and every one of these post offices.
The full motion is here
The motion calls on the government to consider:
(i) including the National Heritage List nomination relating to the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct in the 2013/14 Final Priority Assessment List,
(ii) supporting the establishment of a statutory authority with the expertise to conserve and interpret the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct for all Australians, in accordance with the Burra Charter guidelines, and
(iii) contributing funding to act on the recommendations of the Forgotten Australians report, including to create a memorial garden, plaque and a heritage centre at the Precinct using the buildings and grounds of the former Parramatta Girls Home, which forms part of the Precinct.
Letter from Senator Rhiannon to Minister Burke below.