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Department of Planning Heritage Office Changes Statement

Heritage conservation and management in NSW will be supported through changes to the internal structure of the NSW Department of Planning reports this media statement from the department of Planning of 19 February 2008.

The former NSW Heritage Office was absorbed into the Department in March 2006. The Heritage Council of NSW, of course, continued to function as a statutory body to provide advice on heritage matters to the Minister.

As part of the changes, some former Heritage Office staff will now be integrated into the Department's development assessment, plan-making, strategic planning and policy teams.

This move will elevate consideration of heritage matters into the heart of the Department's core activities.

For instance, heritage experts will be placed within teams that are assessing new environmental planning instruments and development proposals - rather than being outside those teams which was previously the case.

This will improve integrated outcomes and, by streamlining internal processes, assist in timely Departmental service delivery.

A standalone unit will specifically service the ongoing role of the Heritage Council, including overseeing proposed State heritage listings.

Under the internal changes explained above existing heritage staff will continue to undertake heritage work, and there will be no forced or voluntary redundancies.

Furthermore, the Department is committed to the continuing use of the former Heritage Office's headquarters in the State heritage-listed former King's school at Marist Place, Parramatta.

Departmental staff from a range of divisions, including former Heritage Office staff, will continue to use this facility.

In doing this, the Department is illustrating its support for heritage adaptive re-use principles and also supporting jobs in western Sydney.