National

Push to conserve heritage convict sites

By AAP Newswire

Money should be spent on conservation work at World Heritage-listed convict sites like Fremantle Prison, Sydney's Cockatoo Island and Port Arthur to help create jobs, a federal Labor MP says.

Friday marks the 10 year anniversary of the sites gaining World Heritage status.

Fremantle MP Josh Wilson says the government should grasp the opportunity to invest in heritage work and make the sites even better for tourism.

"The anniversary should provoke the Morrison government to consider the scope of unmet basic conservation and restoration work attached to these places of internationally significant heritage and dark history," he said on Friday.

"Indeed, according to the management plans for the convict sites there is more than $33 million needed for fundamental conservation work, without which there will a larger bill for running maintenance in the longer term."

Mr Wilson says the government spends $5.3 million a year for more than 100 sites, but Cockatoo Island alone needs $47 million.

Hyde Park Barracks, Cascades Female Factory and Darlington Probation Station are among the other heritage-listed sites.

Mr Wilson says it's important to look after the sites to reconcile Australia's national identity.

"It's how we connect our history in all its complexity and diversity to the physical world," he said.