$2 Million Boost For Specialist Stonemasons
The NSW Government’s team of expert stonemasons will continue to perform intricate maintenance and restoration work on some of the state’s landmark sandstone buildings, following a $2 million boost in funding to the Minister’s Stone Program.
The funding will support heritage restoration projects including the Sydney Hospital façade, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Art Gallery of NSW and Bathurst Courthouse.
Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Dominic Perrottet, said the funding showed the Government’s commitment to safeguarding the specialist skills and expertise required to perform intricate maintenance on some of the state’s oldest buildings.
“Heritage buildings like the Sydney Hospital are among our most cherished sandstone treasures, and this new funding will ensure NSW has the skills and expertise required to maintain these historical buildings for years to come,” Mr Perrottet said.
“The dedicated team of men and women in the stonemason’s unit craft ancient stone using traditional and modern methods, and they will continue that vital work, while also providing expert advice on stone and maintenance to other agencies.”
Environment and Heritage Minister Mark Speakman said, “I welcome this decision to support the ongoing role for Government in the long-term conservation of our sandstone heritage. These buildings define our city and state, and should be an ongoing source of inspiration for how we can build a more civic city.”
The stonemasons will form part of a new Heritage Stoneworks unit, to be responsible for completing work under the Minister’s Stone Program. A separate Heritage Asset Advisory unit has been established as part of the recently created Public Works Advisory, launched on 1 July, which specialises in commissioning and strategic advice across government.
With limited capability in the private sector to perform specialist stonemasonry work, Heritage Stoneworks will continue to recruit, train and develop apprentice stonemasons, while Heritage Asset Advisory will work to build capability outside of government over the long term, by engaging external providers to meet a portion of the Government’s needs.
The Government has also completed previously-announced reviews of the Regional & Rural and Water Solutions divisions, with existing Water advisory services and regional and rural functions to be retained within Public Works Advisory.
“Our reforms mean the Government now has the right mix of capabilities for the 21st century – strategic advisory and commissioning expertise, as well as vital practical capabilities in the Heritage Stoneworks, Regional & Rural and Water Solutions divisions,” Mr Perrottet said.