Heritage Council criticises Budget cuts

 

THE HERITAGE Council has warned that “punitive” and “disproportionate” cuts in the Government’s Budget for environmental protection and conservation will “decimate the heritage sector and close many small enterprises that are dependent on it”.

The scheduled cuts are set to have “detrimental effects on both our national heritage” and on the quality of tourism offered, the State body has said.

It notes that the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government’s heritage unit, which holds responsibility for protected structures, including world heritage sites, sustained a 77 per cent budget cut.

The National Parks and Wildlife section was hit with a 56 per cent cut to funding and the Heritage Council experienced a 47 per cent cut – coming after a 30 per cent cut last year.

“We are extremely concerned about the disproportionate nature of the cuts to the heritage sector,” according to the chief executive of the Heritage Council, Michael Starrett.

“While the heritage sector recognises that it must share the burden of the cuts required to tackle the country’s economic crisis, the cuts announced last Tuesday are completely disproportionate in comparison to other departmental cuts,” he said yesterday.