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Government Concern Over Proposed Heritage Site In Melbourne

Turning Melbourne's Federation Square into a heritage listed site would be an "unprecedented" move that could mean barriers to future development on the site, the Victorian government says.

The National Trust of Australia's Victorian division on Tuesday nominated the CBD landmark for the Victorian Heritage Register to recognise its "historical, architectural, aesthetic and social significance to the state".

The trust said the nomination was made because of "a lack of transparency" and "no attempt to consult Victorians" about proposed changes, namely an Apple flagship store and the new entrance for a station in the government's multi-billion dollar Metro Tunnel project.

The move puts a 60-day interim protection over the site which halts demolition of the Federation Square visitor centre where the Town Hall station entrance is set to be built.

A heritage-listing also means any future development of Federation Square would need approval from Heritage Victoria.

Tourism Minister John Eren on Wednesday indicated the government's concern.

"It would be unprecedented to heritage list a site that is only 16 years old, and to do so could lead to significant implications for future projects," he said.

"This will not stop us delivering the Metro Tunnel and other vital projects that are good for Melbourne and good for jobs."

Premier Daniel Andrews has previously said Melbourne should embrace the store or risk it being based in Sydney.

Attempts by the Victorian Greens in parliament to revoke planning permission for the store failed, but tens of thousands of people had signed an online petition against the change.

The store was announced in December without any public consultation.


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