Macedon Ranges Shire Council has come under fire for appearing to take credit for the heritage listing of Hanging Rock.
Council's recently released 2014/15 Annual Report states 'There are many things council has achieved in the last financial year that we can be proud of', and goes on to cite 'the listing of Hanging Rock Reserve on the Victorian Heritage Register'.
However Hanging Rock Action Group spokesperson Natasha Gayfer pointed out it was the action group which in 2013 learnt that Hanging Rock's national heritage listing had lapsed in 2007.
"Macedon Ranges Shire Council had taken no action to address this - leaving the Rock without federal or state heritage recognition or protection," Ms Gayfer said.
"To remedy this, the group dedicated its own time to nominate Hanging Rock and the adjoining east paddock for listing on the Victorian Heritage Register. The group rallied to raise money, and paid thousands of dollars out of its own pockets, to fund a heritage expert to assist with its submission."
Heritage Victoria considered the nomination at a registration hearing in October 2014 and ruled that Hanging Rock Reserve was of historical, aesthetic and social significance to Victoria, and as such, would be protected under the Victorian Heritage Act 1995.
"This was a well-deserved win for the Hanging Rock Action Group," Ms Gayfer said."While agreeing in principle with the nomination, council's main contribution at the hearing was to oppose inclusion of the east paddock, and argue that any works at Hanging Rock Reserve should be exempt from requiring a permit."
In defence of the report's claim, MRSC CEO Peter Johnston said council provided submissions in support of the application and worked with the Heritage Council in relation to the heritage listing permit exemptions to enable council to continue to maintain and improve the reserve, while still offering the Rock state-level protection.
"It was not our intention to infer that the heritage listing was solely the achievement of council; and we thank and recognise the dedication of the community, the Action Group and Friends of Hanging Rock members who participated in the application process and spent many hours working on the submission to achieve such a great outcome for the community," Mr Johnston said.
Ms Gayfer said that while there may be many things council was proud of, it could not include heritage protection of Hanging Rock under its list of achievements.
"This was solely the work of the Hanging Rock Action Group. To suggest otherwise is an offence to a group of locals who have spent over two years fighting for better recognition and protection for Hanging Rock," she added.