ACT Heritage Council

Heritage review and reform

The ACT Government is undertaking a review of heritage arrangements in the ACT including the legislative framework in which the ACT Heritage Council and their supporting government agency operates. The review is being undertaken by consultants Stenning & Associates. The aim of the review is to research, identify and propose a model for future heritage laws, frameworks and arrangements that is fit for purpose in the ACT and reflects best practise from other jurisdictions.

Preliminary review

A preliminary review of the ACT Heritage Council and ACT Heritage Unit was undertaken in August-September 2021. On 29 November 2022, the Minister for Heritage released summary findings through the Review of the ACT Heritage Council – Public Report (999.6 KB).

Public consultation

Have YourSay on how the ACT’s heritage system should be reshaped to recognise, protect, conserve and manage our heritage into the future.

Feedback can be submitted online through the ACT Government YourSay platform until 13 October. For information on online and in-person community consultation sessions, visit the YourSay page.

Heritage Council arrangements

During the review, an interim Council has been appointed to ensure the work of the Council is being done. The new council was appointed by the Minister in April 2023.

The ACT Heritage Council (the Council) is an independent, statutory body responsible for a range of provisions under the Heritage Act 2004 including:

  • identifying, assessing, conserving and promoting heritage places and objects in the ACT
  • making decisions about the registration of heritage places and objects
  • making decisions on heritage applications relating to proposed excavation and heritage impacts
  • providing advice on works and development matters in accordance with the ACT's land planning and development system
  • encouraging and assisting with appropriate management of heritage places and objects
  • encouraging public interest in, and awareness of, heritage places and objects in the ACT

The members of the Heritage Council are appointed by the Minister for Heritage. The Minister has provided the Council with a Statement of Expectations (286.3 KB) to guide its work. The Statement outlines the Government’s expectations and priorities.

ACT Heritage Council

A new Heritage Council is being established following the dissolution of the previous Heritage Council by the Minister on 6 December 2022. This interim Council will be established for not less than 1 year while a comprehensive review of heritage arrangements in the ACT is conducted. There is the option to extend appointments to the Council or to appoint its members to a longer term Council.

The Council comprises the Chief Planning Executive and Conservator of Flora and Fauna as ex-officio members and nine members appointed by the Minister:

  • 3 public representatives one each representing the Aboriginal community, the community, and the property ownership, management, and development sector
  • 6 experts in one or more of the disciplines of architecture, archaeology, history, landscape architecture, Aboriginal history, Aboriginal culture, engineering, town planning, urban design, nature

Duncan Marshall AM

Chairperson and member with expertise in architecture

Duncan Marshall is a leading Australian and international practitioner in heritage conservation, both in terms of site-specific work as well as the development of heritage practice. Mr Marshall is an architect with 40 years' experience in heritage conservation across government and the private sector, including with the Australian Heritage Commission, as General Secretary of the Australian Council of National Trusts and as a heritage consultant since 1993.

Mr Marshall has been responsible for multiple conservation planning projects of historic buildings and precincts in the ACT including Old Parliament House, Lanyon and Cuppacumbalong Homestead Precincts, CSIRO Black Mountain, and St John's Church, Reid. In 2020, Mr Marshall was made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to heritage conservation.

Catherine Skippington

Deputy chairperson and community representative

Catherine Skippington has 20 years’ experience in senior executive positions with the Australian and Queensland public services and as a consultant on natural resource management, cultural heritage, regulatory compliance, organisational culture and change management.

Ms Skippington has a strategic understanding of heritage issues gained through her experience managing contested or difficult heritage related issues. As the executive in the Queensland government responsible for environmental matters from 1999 to 2012, she managed world heritage nominations, grants program and reviews of the heritage protection programs. These initiatives required Ms Skippington to resolve high profile and politically sensitive issues including review of heritage processes and engagement with stakeholders interested in heritage value and protecting heritage values.

Karen Demmery

Aboriginal community representative

Karen Demmery is a Wiradjuri woman from Dubbo NSW, who has lived most of her adult life on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra. Ms Demmery has 15 years' experience working with governments, the private sector and community organisations, in both urban and remote communities. She has advised boards and committees and provided executive coaching and mentoring to CEOs on cultural awareness and managing First Nations challenges and relationships within the community.

Ms Demmery has delivered Cultural Competency and Cultural Awareness programs, developed Reconciliation Action Plans, provided strategic direction and advice to boards and committees and executive coaching and mentoring to CEO's who needed support with managing First Nations employees, challenges and relationships within the community.

Ms Demmery holds a Masters of Indigenous Health and a Doctor of Philosophy on the impact of trauma on Aboriginal women.

Rachael O'Neill

Property ownership, management and development sector representative

Rachael O'Neill offers over 26 years' experience as a town planner with local councils, including working on projects that require consideration and protection of indigenous artefacts. These projects required her to work closely with cultural heritage consultants.

Ms O'Neill has run her own consultancy firm, O'Neill Consulting, since May 2014. Her firm has prepared planning reports for residential, mixed-use, commercial, education and heritage applications, plans and submissions. She has worked on projects that require consideration and protection of indigenous artefacts and worked closely with cultural heritage consultants.

Doug Williams

Member with expertise in archaeology and Aboriginal culture

Doug Williams is a qualified archaeologist with 30 years' experience working at senior levels in heritage management capacities in the NSW and Victorian governments, and with Commonwealth counterparts as Executive Officer of the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area. In this role he established strong First Nations connections and experience working with on Aboriginal cultural sites that required cultural sensitivity and recognition.

He has served on numerous heritage related committees, most pertinently being appointed by the NSW Environment Minister to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Scientific Advisory Committee (2019-2021) as its expert for Cultural Heritage Management.

Catherine Clark

Member with expertise in archaeology

Catherine Clark has qualifications in archaeology and historic buildings conservation, and 30 years' relevant experience in building conservation and heritage management in Australia and the United Kingdom, including in statutory advisory roles. Ms Clark worked in heritage and culture roles for the NSW government from 2008-14 and the Welsh Government from 2014 -20. She was a previous member of the Australia Heritage Council in 2013-14.

Ms Clark has worked in roles that apply heritage conservation principles within a statutory context, including statutory advice roles with the Council for British Archaeology, and English Heritage, policy roles with the Heritage Lottery Fund, and senior heritage leadership roles with the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, NSW Heritage and Cadw, the Welsh Heritage organisation.

Alanna King

Member with expertise in architecture

Alanna King is an Architect and built heritage specialist with 18 years relevant experience in the profession. She has collaborated as a part of multi-disciplinary heritage teams and worked on key ACT buildings including the Kingston Arts Precinct, Gorman Arts Centre, Sydney and Melbourne Buildings, Civic Square Precinct, and MoAD at Old Parliament House.

As part of this work Ms King has advised heritage property owners, updated seven Conservation Management Plans for ACT heritage listed places, and collaborated with Representative Aboriginal Organisations (RAOs), archaeologists, engineers, ecologists and ACT Government agencies to achieve best practice outcomes.

David Hobbes

Member with expertise in architecture

David Hobbes is an architect who has been involved in heritage management over the last 20 years. His experience has been as an architect and consultant working on the restoration and adaptation of heritage buildings and precincts. He has extensive expertise in the main areas of heritage management including heritage advisory work and heritage assessment in the ACT and NSW jurisdictions.

Mr Hobbes has prepared heritage assessments and submissions to the ACT Heritage Council and on behalf of the Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council and Goulburn Mulwaree Councils in NSW. His consultancy work has involved the restoration and sensitive adaptation of heritage buildings, including the preparation of Assessments of Heritage Significance, Statements of Heritage Impact, Conservation Management Plans. He has a thorough familiarity and knowledge of a very wide range of significant Canberra buildings and places.

Alistair Henchman

Member with expertise in architecture and nature conservation

Alistair Henchman is a retired architect with experience with the ACT and NSW Governments in roles responsible for governance, preservation and management of significant heritage sites in both metropolitan and regional areas. As a an architect and registered planner and with experience in nature conservation, town planning, urban design and landscape architecture, Mr Henchman offers an extensive breadth of skills relevant to the Council.

He worked for 25 years with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, initially as Regional Architect and later as a senior executive, where he focussed on the adaptive reuse and conservation of heritage places, developed policy for heritage management and determined the future of numerous heritage places, structures and landscapes throughout NSW. Since commencing as a consultant Mr Henchman has provided services to the ACT Government, including ACT Historic Places and Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development in 2021 to develop the Framework and Implementation Plan for reconstitution of the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust.

Mr Henchman has experience on several boards. As the Chair of the statutory Lord Howe Island Board from 2008 to 2012, he managed social and natural heritage values of this World Heritage listed site. He is currently a Community representative on the Ginninderry Conservation Trust Board.