20 November 2007

Election may effect wreck

Governments slates talks on Cerberus proposal.

Matthew Burgess

BLACK Rock's HMVS Cerberus has been named Victoria's most at-risk heritage landmark.

VICTORIA'S most famous warship, the wreck HMVS Cerberus, could be saved after a potential 11th-hour reprieve.

In a major development, the Federal Government last week revealed it would start talks with the State Government on the merit of a joint proposal to stabilise the Black Rock icon.

But the future of the wreck, which has acted as a breakwater at Half Moon Bay since 1926, still hangs in the balance.
The pledge, detailed in a letter from Environment and Water Resources Minister Malcolm Turnbull to state Planning Minister Justin Madden, hinges on Saturday's election result. Attempts to contact Mr Turnbull were unsuccessful.

Friends of the Cerberus secretary Peter Tully said the pledge was a "tremendous step forward" and "provides real hope that the Cerberus will be stabilised instead of being left to rot". "There is still a huge amount of work to be done, as it does not provide any iron-fisted guarantees, but for the first time the Commonwealth and the State will be seriously discussing funding proposals," Mr Tully said.
Last week, the Bayside Leader reported the Cerberus was placed on the National Trust's inaugural 'Our Heritage at Risk' national top 10 list the only Victorian entry.

The Friends of the Cerberus have been trying to raise $7 million to stabilise the ship, but a recent $3.25 million application to the National Heritage Investment Initiative was ruled ineligible.
National Trust Victoria chief executive Martin Purslow said it was encouraging the Federal Government was finally recognising its importance.

Goldstein federal Liberal MP Andrew Robb said the latest development was a "sensible outcome". State Government spokesman Ben Ruse said the government would be happy to discuss the future of the Cerberus.