Heritage listings without compensation weakens the economy

29 April 2009

Todays decision to place the entire Currawong site on the State Heritage Register without compensation to the property owner will discourage investment in NSW, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said that NSW has been struggling to attract investment because of the enormous discretion wielded by planning authorities.


Todays decision illustrates the precarious position that any property owner can find themselves in, Mr Gadiel said.


No property owner in NSW is safe suburban homes and large sites are all able to be listed as heritage sites without compensation for loss of land value.


Todays announcement will be noticed by people making investment decisions.


The only fair way to safeguard the rights of property owners is to pay just terms compensation when decisions are made to protect private property.


Mr Gadiel said that todays announcement is only the latest in a string of worrying decisions.


In November last year Ashfield Councils voted to list an unexceptional 1970s town house complex as a heritage site, he said.


Despite the objections of residents, Ashfield Council voted to heritage-list town houses at 32 Chandos St, Ashfield.


In 2007 Parramatta Council attempted to heritage list 12 ordinary 1960s and 1970s homes in Toongabbie and Epping.


Mr Gadiel said that owners of heritage listed homes face the devaluation of their property by tens of thousands of dollars.


Theyre also burdened by new restrictions meaning it is extremely expensive, if not impossible, to undertake even minor renovations such as modifying the kitchen, changing internal walls, or installing a pay TV aerial.


Heritage listings dont just affect the listed property they can affect neighbours too.


Once a single property in a street is heritage listed, neighbouring properties can be blocked from making changes to their homes that alter the streetscape.


In Queensland, heritage listing results in just terms compensation for property owners the same should happen here.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


For every $1 million in construction expenditure, 27 jobs are created throughout the broader economy. The construction activity made possible by property developers contributes $69 billion to the national economy each year and creates 709,000 direct jobs. The construction industry is Australias third largest source of employment.


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