Yesterday's claims by the Government that the Your Community Heritage grants were a 'new and practical approach to heritage conservation' ring hollow, with the budget revealing this important program will not be continuing beyond 2013, the Australian Greens said today.
"A large part of yesterday's announcement is supplementary funding which has been previously announced. While it is welcome, it is nothing but a drop in the ocean against a backdrop of successive funding cuts to the Heritage Division," Australian Greens spokesperson for Cultural Heritage, Senator Penny Wright, said.
"In last year's budget, funding to the Heritage Division was slashed by 30 per cent, or more than $6 million. This came on top of a 19 per cent cut the year before.
"These cuts have ripped the heart out of the Heritage Division and severely limit the amount of support the Department is able to give to those working tirelessly to preserve our heritage in the community.
"The Greens are very worried about this disturbing trend, which devalues our past. In order to genuinely protect our heritage, the Government must commit to long-term recurrent and consistent funding.
"Our heritage belongs to all Australians and once it is gone, it is lost forever."