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Sunday, June 20, 2021

NCA approves early works for War Memorial expansion

The National Capital Authority (NCA) has approved early works for the Australian War Memorial, which will see Anzac Hall demolished and pave the way for the $500 million expansion.

In a statement this morning, NCA chair Terry Weber said the early works application was consistent with the National Capital Plan.

The approval of the works has been met with outrage; the former National President of the Australian Institute of Architects and spokesperson for the ‘Hands off Anzac Hall’ campaign, Clare Cousins, said “Australia’s regulatory framework has failed Australians at every step of this abomination of an ‘assessment’ process”. 

“Expert advice on the significant negative heritage impacts to the AWM from demolishing Anzac Hall, as well as widespread community opposition, have been equally ignored,” she said.

Ms Cousins said the approval has created a precedent that endangers “every other piece of public architecture in this country”.

As well, Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo slammed the NCA’s “outrageous” decision, also noting the strong public opposition to the planned expansion.

The NCA’s consultation report for the proposal states the NCA received 601 submissions about the works, with just three expressing support.

The approved early works will include excavation, services relocation, temporary hoardings and the removal of trees, as well as the demolition of Anzac Hall.

Mr Weber said the War Memorial will be required to plant an additional 250 native trees as a condition of approval for the early works.

“A total of 455 trees are to be retained, while 140 trees are to be removed as part of the project,” he said.

“The full landscape plan describing the species and location [of the additional trees] will form part of the Public Realm works application to be submitted to the NCA in 2022.”

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