The NSW Heritage Minister’s decision not to award the Sirius building heritage protection has been ruled invalid by the Land and Environment Court today.
Shaun Carter, chairperson of Save Our Sirius, tells Broadsheet: “It’s a great day for Sirius, for the community, and for New South Wales. Given that the minister hasn’t been willing to sit down and talk with us we don’t understand the initial thinking around this.”
The minister has been ordered to revisit the matter and make a decision in accordance to the law.
“The community has fought hard for this and they want to be listened to,” Carter says. “They are saying that this building should be listed on the register… [We’ll ask the Premier] to sit down with community and talk honestly about how we can use Sirius and the broader topic of social housing.”
Despite a unanimous recommendation by the Heritage Council to grant Sirius protection, the NSW government was hoping to sell off the block to developers. The basis of the minister’s decision was that a heritage listing would cause the government “undue financial burden.” The building is believed to be worth somewhere in the ball park of $100 million.
“The minister did not properly consider, let alone arrive at a tentative conclusion, whether Sirius was of state heritage significance,” said acting judge Simon Molesworth in his ruling. “It is clear that the minister side-stepped the required assessment."
Carter attributes the outcome to the groundswell of support from the community.
“[Save our Sirius] is just a voice behind a huge number of people who have worked long days and weekends to make this happen. We are the conduit of the community,” he says.
*This article was updated at 6.05pm.