The NSW Greens have slammed state government plans to re-use Parramatta’s Female Factory Precinct after a motion to support listing the site for national heritage protection passed the Senate.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said both tiers of government had failed Australia’s oldest female convict establishment.
‘‘While Premier Barry O’Farrell is risking the integrity of this important heritage precinct by throwing the door open to commercial development, the federal government has been dragging the chain on securing national heritage listing — which would help protect it for future generations,’’ she said.
A Greens motion to support listing the historic precinct on the national heritage register passed the Senate this week.
Ms Rhiannon said she hoped it was a step towards greater government protection for the precinct.
‘‘In August, I toured the precinct as a guest of the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct Association and the Parramatta Female Factory Friends/Action Group,’’ she said.
‘‘The insight the collection of buildings provide into our convict and social history is priceless.’’
In August, the premier backed the development of a heritage master plan for Parramatta that would incorporate the precinct.
He said the plan would unlock a potential $1billion that could be leveraged from the city’s historic sites.
State Parramatta MP Geoff Lee and the council’s general manager have both said they support the ‘‘adaptive reuse’’ of the city’s heritage buildings.
Mr Lee said the best way to protect Parramatta’s colonial buildings was to use them.
He suggested cafes, restaurants and art galleries were suitable commercial uses for sites such as the Female Factory and Parramatta Jail.
The Female Factory was built in 1818 and is Australia’s oldest female convict establishment.
It is estimated to have housed two thirds of the 12,600 or so convict women sent to the colony.
The precinct includes the Roman Catholic Orphan School, circa 1844-1886, and Parramatta Jail, circa 1842.