Heritage listing and property value: An Australian perspective of the legislative framework

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Irons, J. & Armitage, L.A. (2010). Heritage listing and property value: An Australian perspective of the legislative framework. Paper presented at the 17th Annual European Real Estate Conference (ERES), 23-26 June, Milan, Italy

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In Australia, the public has played a significant and long-standing role in the conservation of heritage places -- one which predates formal government participation in the conservation arena by more than two decades. Co-ordinated, large scale, community involvement in the conservation of Australia’s heritage places dates from the mid 1940’s when the National Trust of Australia was founded in Sydney (AGPC 2006). In contrast, formal government recognition of the role and significance of heritage places is a relatively more recent phenomenon. The 1970’s heralded the naissance of conservation-focussed legislation that served as both a manifesto and then a mandate for the introduction of a framework of statutory control mechanisms for the identification and protection of Australia’s rich stock of heritage places (Irons 2009).

The objective of this paper is to identify the framework which underpins heritage listing in Western Australia for the purpose of establishing a range of relevant perspectives, with an emphasis on the legislative paradigm. It is part of a broader empirical study (Irons 2008) which investigates in detail the effect of local heritage listing on the price of a single family dwelling in the Fremantle local government area of Western Australia to determine whether a discernible pricing differential exists between heritage listed and non-heritage listed property. The perspectives identified in the study include market and heritage value and the geographic context and focus which are significant at the scale of the single unit detached dwelling in the Fremantle LGA. More particularly, this paper discusses the scope, definitions, limits and background to these issues based on a detailed review of current practices and processes. The paper provides a review and discussion of the current legislative framework and offers findings which provide some insights into conservation practice in Western Australia ranging from the wider metropolitan/sub-regional scale to that of the local government level ñ united by a consistency of application to the single family dwelling.