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Buildings sale backlash

There is a gathering in Hobart's Town Hall this afternoon to discuss the historical significance of the city's Treasury buildings and how to preserve their public ownership.

Developers are sizing up the buildings for a hotel and retail venture after the state government announced plans to sell them.

Former National Trust Councillor Chris Merridew compares it to 1960 when the government of the day moved to sell the Salamanca Warehouses.

"Fortunately there was a very strong public objection to that which was the catalyst for the National Trust to be formed and that's why we have the built heritage retained in Hobart of which we are so fortunate and so proud."

He argues they would be perfect display areas for the Museum and Art Gallery, which the government has ruled out.

"The public believes that those buildings belong to the public of Tasmania, not to the government to sell, that's the big angst, they have been owned by the government since as early as 1824, some of them pre-date Port Arthur, you'd never dream of selling Port Arthur would you, this is basically the same issue."