Let me start by expressing my concern and devastation at the news of the fire at Kenmore.
Last year I inspected the site in the company of (former Kenmore Museum volunteer) Leone Morgan and the caretaker. I was appalled at the lack of maintenance and care of the site and complete disregard for the conservation and preservation of such iconic buildings.
As a result, I made representations to the Minister responsible for Heritage. Heritage NSW immediately acted to contact the owner Australia China International Pty Ltd regarding their requirements to maintain the extensive property as required under the Act.
Due to the lack of response and imperfect consultations with the owner, Heritage NSW provided the owner with a series of actions to be immediately undertaken to improve the security and condition of the site. Those actions were clearly not taken.
The Heritage Council again measured the situation and decided that the ongoing issues appeared unlikely to be resolved satisfactorily or the minimum standards met to satisfy the Heritage regulations 2012. The Heritage Council are now exploring their legal options.
In my most recent conversations with the Minister, I have repeated my exasperation and the clear inadequacies in the Act to rectify the issues expediently. While, I am pleased to hear that the Act is currently being reviewed, I anticipate recommendations to Cabinet regarding amendments to be imminent.
I have also made it clear that I and the community expect a strong response from the state government, and for the matters to be dealt with expediently. I strongly encourage the owner to contact Heritage NSW and expedite negotiations to resolve this terrible situation.
I am saddened that Kenmore Hospital can be so wilfully ignored by distant owners who appear to hold no regard or respect to the community, likewise the wilful contempt of our heritage by those in our community who have seen fit to trespass, damage and, destroy it.
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