Heritage Advisory Committee

As part of its commitment to supporting the conservation of the region, we have established a Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC). Since the original group's formation in December 1994, the committee has provided us with a community voice for the conservation of our built environment, parks and avenues. The committee's existence was created from a concern that future development not diminish the character or heritage of the Toowoomba Regional Council area – identifying and educating on the important things about the region that make it a good place to live. Too often we only appreciate what we've got when it's gone.

For most people their home matters greatly – a place of comfort, security and beauty; and in this region it is commonly a detached house with a backyard and a front garden. In Queensland, until the Second World War, our houses had their own distinctive style, different from any in the world and the character and interest of our older neighbourhoods has much to do with that style. In addition, our climate, soil and the efforts of generations of gardeners have made Toowoomba a garden city known throughout the state and beyond.

HAC is concerned that this character not be lost or unnecessarily diminished and seeks to support all initiatives that contribute to this character. HAC aims to conserve historic town buildings and parks, neighbourhoods, streets and trees and promotes the maintenance of heritage buildings and also appreciation of their architecture.

Heritage Advisory Service

HAC assisted to set up our Heritage Advisory Service, where a heritage advisor provides free advice to residents and business owners on renovation and redevelopment of private and commercial buildings. The service assists property owners to undertake redevelopment and refurbishment work while maintaining the character and style of their properties. Advice is available on colour schemes, extensions, verandahs, awnings and fencing as well as more comprehensive advice on the integration of new development in older areas.

You can find out more about this service and view detailed advice on colour schemes, extensions, verandahs, awnings and fencing on the Heritage Advisory Service page.

Heritage Advisory Committee objectives

HAC's objectives are to:

  • provide input to Council on policy aimed at the conservation of heritage places and areas
  • promote a wider appreciation of the TRC area's heritage and its value in cultural, spiritual, educational and economic terms
  • provide input to Council on development proposals involving heritage sites or areas
  • provide input to Council on the maintenance, restoration and promotion of heritage sites under Council's control
  • identify places that the community recognise as being of cultural significance within the TRC area and encourage their conservation for future generations
  • provide input to Council and the community on matters relevant to heritage preservation, restoration, education and promotion
  • liaise with other groups and organisations who share similar values, interests and concerns including community groups
  • identify issues within the Toowoomba Regional Council area requiring further research and action
  • investigate sources of funding for specific heritage projects

Membership of the Heritage Advisory Committee

The role of HAC is to advise Council and the community on matters relevant to heritage conservation, restoration, education and promotion. The committee is to include representatives from state and local government, community heritage groups, the general public and relevant professionals in a voluntary capacity.

The membership of the Heritage Advisory Committee will consist of:

  • Two Councillors representing Toowoomba Regional Council
  • Toowoomba Regional Council’s Heritage Advisor
  • One representative from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
  • One representative from the National Trust
  • Three representatives from historical societies in the regional council area
  • Two professional representatives with a vocational interest in heritage, e.g. architects, town planners, engineers, historians, archaeologists, builders.
  • One representative must be an acknowledged expert in indigenous culture and history
  • One representative from the Indigenous community
  • Three representatives from the broader community

Current members

The 2016 HAC members bring diverse backgrounds and experience to the group. They are:

  • Chris Gay - Professional representative
  • Eleanor Cullen - Toowoomba Historical Society
  • Gary Deakin - Community representative
  • Helen Johnson - Yarraman & District Historical Society
  • Dr Mark Copland - Professional representative
  • Michael Taylor - Queensland National Trust
  • Patrick Murphy - Community representative
  • Peter Freeman - TRC Regional Heritage Architect
  • Ros Scotney - Pittsworth Historical Society
  • Teresa Fisher - Oakey Historical Society
  • Uncle Darby (Richard McCarthy) - Indigenous community representative
  • Vince Little - Community representative

Committee members were selected for their experience and above all, an understanding of the characteristics and value of the Toowoomba region’s heritage homes, parks and special places.

Background

The Heritage Advisory Committee is constituted under Section 452 of the Local Government Act 1993, which empowers the Council to appoint advisory committees.

Tenure of Committee and Membership

The Heritage Advisory Committee is established for the term of the current Council, unless disbanded earlier by Council resolution.

Purpose

The Heritage Advisory Committee will provide leadership and direction on the functions and responsibilities listed below.

Functions

The main functions of the Committee are to:

  • provide input to Council on policy aimed at the conservation of heritage places and areas.
  • promote a wider appreciation of the region's heritage (indigenous and post settlement) and its value in cultural, spiritual, educational and economic terms.
  • provide policy input to Council on development issues involving heritage sites or areas.
  • provide input to Council on the maintenance, restoration and promotion of heritage sites under the control of the Council.
  • identify places that the community recognises as being of cultural significance within the Toowoomba Regional Council area and to encourage their conservation for current and future generations.
  • provide input to Council and the community on matters relevant to heritage preservation, restoration, education and promotion.
  • liaise with other groups and organisations who share similar values/interests/concerns including community groups.
  • identify issues within the Toowoomba Regional Council area requiring further research and action.
  • liaise and seek input, when necessary, from the community, and other groups and organisations including community groups who share similar values/interests/concerns.
  • investigate sources of funding for specific heritage projects.

Membership

(a) The Heritage Advisory Committee will consist of fourteen members, which will include a minimum of two Councillors, one of whom shall be designated as the Chairperson by the Council. Membership will consist of the following:

  • Two Councillors representing the Regional Council
  • Council's Heritage Advisor
  • One Department of Environment and Heritage Protection representative
  • One National Trust representative
  • Three representatives from a historical society
  • Two professional representatives (one of whom must be an acknowledged expert in indigenous culture and history)
  • One representative from the indigenous community
  • Three representatives from the broader community 

Where a Councillor cannot attend a meeting of the Committee, another person delegated by the Councillor may act as a member of the committee for that meeting.

(b) Appointment will generally be made on a biennial basis, after nominations have been invited in a newspaper generally circulating in the area seeking expressions of interest from residents.

(c) All members of the Advisory Committee may vote on business before the committee, except where the member has a conflict of interest.

(d) If any member of the committee is absent from three consecutive meetings without having obtained leave of absence from the committee, the member's continued membership of that committee will be referred to the Chief Executive Officer for determination.

(e) The Manager Strategic Planning and Economic Development, or nominee, shall provide appropriate advice and support to assist the committee to meet its obligations.

(f) The group shall be provided with a support officer from Toowoomba Regional Council comprising of:

  • One officer from Strategic Planning and Economic Development

The staff will not be members of the Advisory Committee or have voting entitlements.

Chairperson

Council shall appoint the Heritage Advisory Committee chairperson.

Acting Chairperson

However, if the Chairperson is absent or unavailable to preside, a member of the Advisory Committee chosen by the members present at the Committee meeting will preside.

Quorum

The quorum of any Advisory Committee meeting will be a minimum of 51% of the membership.

Times and Places for Meetings

The Advisory Committee may determine the dates, times and places for its meetings. Council will generally be responsible for providing a suitable venue.

Meeting Procedures

Unless otherwise provided in these terms of reference, the Advisory Committee will generally adopt informal meeting procedures. Where more formal procedures are required, the procedures described in Council's Standing Orders shall apply.

Voting

(a) Each member of the Advisory Committee has a vote on each question to be decided.

(b) Voting at a meeting must be open and questions decided by a majority of the votes of the members present; however, if the votes are equal, the member presiding has a casting vote.

Conflict of interest

(a) Where committee members have a conflict of interest, or could reasonably be taken to have a conflict of interest, in an issue being considered or to be considered at the meeting, the member must declare the conflict of interest to the meeting and must not be present while the matter, or a related matter, is being considered by the committee or otherwise take part in any decision of the committee in relation to the matter or a related resolution.

(b) For the purposes of this clause, a member has a conflict of interest in an issue if there is a conflict between the member's private interest and the public interest.

Open to the public

(a) Meetings are to be open to the public, except where confidential matters are discussed.

(b) When the committee proposes to close a meeting to the public, the chair will direct all persons, other than members of the committee, to leave the meeting and every person will immediately comply with the direction.

(c) Non-members may, with the permission of the chairperson, address the Advisory Committee on any item of business listed on the agenda; however, a non-member will not vote on any matter at an Advisory Committee meeting.

Confidential matters

(a) Should matters of a confidential nature be discussed at a meeting, the meeting may be closed to the public in accordance with Section 4631 of the Local Government Act 1993.

(b) A person who is or has been a member of an Advisory Committee must not make improper use of information acquired as a member to -

  • gain, directly or indirectly, a financial advantage for the person or someone else;
  • harm the local government;or
  • release information that the person knows, or should reasonably know, is information that is confidential.

Reporting

An Advisory Committee must submit a report of each of its meetings to the Chief Executive Officer, who will list any recommendation for Council's consideration on an agenda of a meeting of a Council committee.

Sub-committees

Sub-committees may be appointed by the Council to assist the Advisory Committee. (Note: This is designed to allow for eight sub-committees to operate in each of the service centres and report to a co-ordinating advisory committee).

Remuneration

The Council will not generally authorise payment or provide remuneration to members of Advisory Committees however, where special circumstances exist, Council may resolve to pay remuneration, reimburse expenses and/or provide facilities to members of Advisory Committees, pursuant to Section 237 of the Local Government Act 1993.

Insurance

The Council will ensure that all members of Advisory Committees are covered by appropriate insurances (e.g. voluntary workers, public indemnity).

Media contact

Media statements will be made by the chairperson.

1 Section 463 closed meetings
 
(1) A local government or Committee may resolve that a meeting be closed to the public if its councillors or members consider it necessary to close the meeting to discuss-

(a) the appointment, dismissal or discipline of employees; or
(b) industrial matters affecting employees; or
(c) the local government's budget; or
(d) rating concessions; or
(e) contracts proposed to be made by it; or
(f) starting or defending legal proceedings involving it; or
(g) any action to be taken by the local government under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, including deciding applications made to it under that Act; or
(h) other business for which a public discussion would be likely to prejudice the interests of the local government or someone else, or enable a person to gain a financial advantage.

(2) A resolution that a meeting be closed must specify the nature of the matters to be considered while the meeting is closed.
(3) A local government or committee must not make a resolution (other than a procedural resolution) in a closed meeting.

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