The final report of the 2015 Review of the PMCH Act 1986 (Cwlth) is now available.
Click here [download 3.6MB] to read Borders of Culture: Review of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 Final Report 2015 by Shane Simpson AM.
Click here to read the Australian Government's webpage concerning this review.
In our 'If you care for Australia's objects...' news item of 28 July 2015 we presented a submission to the consultation phase of this review.
Mr Simpson's masterful and entertaining final report presents a bold new model for this legislation.
We applaud the recommendation to use the Significance 2.0 significance assessment methodology for the now positive test of assessing the case for retention of a given object as 'important to the cultural heritage of current and future generations of Australians' (p. 44) under this legislation. This recommendation is a logical outcome of more than 15 years of refinement of a significance assessment methodology customised to movable cultural heritage in Australia.
Within this recommendation, however, Mr Simpson now proposes a fifth primary criterion of 'associative significance'. He also proposes enhanced consultation with Indigenous Australians in assessments concerning Indigenous materials.
Significance International has examined the evidentiary basis and logic of these proposals. We cannot agree with these claims for reasons that these aspects are already included in properly understood and conducted significance assessments using the Significance 2.0 methodology.
Click here [download] to read our reasoning for rejecting the proposal of a fifth primary criterion within the Significance 2.0 significance assessment methodology, and the associated call for additional consultations.
We make some further comments which relate to topics covered in our broader submission to the 2015 consultation, but focus mainly on section 16 of Borders of Culture.
Mr Simpson is to be congratulated on the calibre of this legislative review.
On the topic of significance assessment, however, we trust that our specialist analysis will be considered in the drafting of the amended PMCH Act and Regulations.