The State Government is establishing Australia’s first Heritage Revolving Fund to reactivate languishing publicly owned heritage buildings to ensure they have a viable future.
The Warders’ Cottages – built by convicts in the 1850s and now part of the Fremantle Prison historic precinct – will be the first beneficiary.
In a pre-Budget announcement, Premier Colin Barnett said $4million would be allocated in the State Budget over two years to establish the program.
“This State Government is the only one in Australia with the foresight to establish such a program, which is based on a model widely practised overseas,” Mr Barnett said. “The fund will allow disused State and local government-owned heritage properties to be prepared for sale or lease in a way that optimises the heritage, financial and community benefits.”
Heritage Minister Albert Jacob said the first major project would be the State heritage-listed Warders’ Cottages, with $2million of the fund allocated to the cottages.
“The row of 18 cottages is a priority because it presents a unique challenge to conserve, modernise and return them to active use in central Fremantle,” Mr Jacob said.
The Minister said the fund had been designed to ensure each project allocated funding went on to benefit future projects.
“This is a revolving fund in the true sense of the word. Proceeds from the sale or lease of reactivated properties will be returned to the fund for future projects. The State Government owns one-third of places listed in the State Heritage Register so it is important we lead by example and this is exactly what we are doing via the fund,” Mr Jacob said.
The State Heritage Office will work with State and local governments on projects selected.