Apr 13, 2005

ANZAC Cove roadworks: breaking a nation’s trust


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 13 April 2005

Australia’s leading heritage group, the National Trust, has joined the chorus expressing concern over the road works at Anzac Cove which were requested by the Howard Government.

In a letter to the Prime Minister on 23 March 2005, the National Trust described Anzac Cove as a “nationally significant site, a place of deep meaning and value to all Australians”.

But they are concerned the Howard Government has watched the road works proceed without a heritage management plan and proper monitoring, which is “accepted international archaeological practice”. The National Trust’s letter states:

“International heritage management principles would normally manage these impacts through the development and administration of a conservation management plan, but there appears to be no such conservation management plan for Gallipoli.

There does not appear to be an authoritative management structure which has the protection of the specific site of significance as its key objective. Without such clearly agreed overarching management objectives and supportive administration arrangements, the sites of special significance to Australia, indeed all sites, will remain vulnerable to the kind of damage which has occurred in the recent road building at Anzac Cove.”

The National Trust has every right to be concerned by the damage to Anzac Cove caused by the road works.

The Prime Minister gave an unequivocal commitment in December 2003 that Anzac Cove would be the first nomination for the National Heritage List.

Anzac Cove has been irreparably damaged on John Howard’s watch and he has failed to put Anzac Cove or any of Australia’s 16 World Heritage sites on the National Heritage List. To date, only seven sites have been placed on the National Heritage List.

It is little wonder the Chairman of the National Trust, Professor Simon Molesworth, described the National Heritage List as “abysmal” in the Weekend Australian on 12 March 2005.