State heritage bodies will work alongside the Anglican Diocese as it proceeds to sell the 73 properties on its final list, released on Sunday.
The Heritage Council, Heritage Tasmania and the Anglican Church will discuss how to address community concerns around the properties’ heritage aspects.
This would involve the church obtaining “professional advice” around the heritage aspects of the properties, regardless of their status on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.
Heritage Tasmania is also reviewing church properties which might warrant listing, though this would not impact the Diocese’s ability to sell properties, a government spokesperson said.
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At Avoca, the community has also raised concerns around the many items inside their heritage listed church.
St Thomas’ Church was one of the 51 churches slated for closure and sale on the final list.
A Diocese spokesperson said it recognised the historical significance of items within churches and would “work through these issues sensitively” as part of the sale process.
Part of the sale proceeds will go to funding the Diocese’s obligations to the national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse. Another portion will contribute to the sustainability of local parishes across the state.
The Anglican Diocese of Tasmania hopes community groups will take on ownership and management of churches being sold with cemeteries attached.
A new burial and cremation bill passed by parliament last Thursday is also expected to see the Church of the Good Shepherd at Hadspen, St Marys Church at Hagley and St John the Baptist Church in Ouse regulated as cemeteries, as they feature graves within the buildings themselves.
The decision to include Church of the Good Shepherd has sparked calls for government intervention from on Labor politician.
“The decision by the Diocese to now try to sell the church could be challenged under this act and the government should intervene to ensure this significant site is protected,” Lyons Labor MHA Jen Butler said.
Attorney-General Elise Archer told Fairfax Media properties where bodies may be buried beneath churches would be deemed cemeteries when the amended act is proclaimed.
“All cemetery manager obligations and protections will then apply to such properties, enforced by the regulator,” Ms Archer added.
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