Removing World Heritage by request?

Parliament house flag post

Removing World Heritage by request?

Posted 5/09/2013 by Kate Loynes

Last week the Coalition announced that, if elected, it would seek to have the recently approved extension of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area removed. Can a World Heritage Area be delisted by request?

Extending the Tasmanian Wilderness
The recent extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) was approved by the World Heritage Committee in June this year. It adds 172,276 hectares to the northern and eastern boundaries of the Area, increasing the TWWHA by 12 per cent (see map). This is the fourth extension to the Area since it was listed in 1982.

The new areas contribute to the Outstanding Universal Values identified in the TWWHA, such as exceptional natural beauty and biological diversity. The extension adds habitat for the endangered Tasmanian devil and wedge-tailed eagle, as well as limestone caves and a listed endangered ecological community.

The Tasmanian Wilderness WHA and the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement
The listing of the TWWHA extension was one of the key provisions of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement. The Agreement, signed by the Australian and Tasmanian governments, is designed to protect high value conservation forests while guaranteeing wood supply for Tasmania’s native forest industry. It was the result of negotiations between Tasmanian industry and conservation groups. Signing of the agreement was heralded as an end to the decades-long dispute between forestry and conservation interests and uncertainty in the native forest industry. The Tasmania Forests Agreement Act 2013 (TFA Act) was created to guarantee wood supply to industry and protection for forests, including World Heritage listing, for conservation groups.

Extension and buffer zones
The majority of the extension includes areas that were previously listed as buffer zones to the TWWHA, which were required to have legal protection complementary to the values of the WHA. Those areas will now be incorporated but no new buffer zones have been identified. The majority of World Heritage Areas in Australia do not have buffer zones due to the protection provided by the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The original boundaries of the TWWHA were established a decade before the EPBC Act was created.

The extension also covers areas of native forest that have previously been used for logging, mining and other industries. However, the new TWWHA does not include existing and committed mining areas, access roads and bridges, the Poatina Hydro Power Station and some ongoing logging coups.

Coalition opposition to TWWHA extension
The Tasmanian Liberal party opposed the TFA Act during debate in the Tasmanian House of Assembly. They raised a number of issues regarding the TWWHA extension, including the lack of consultation, the absence of a buffer zone and the ‘locking up’ of productive timber and mineral areas. The Tasmanian Legislative Select Committee’s inquiry into the TFA Act noted that no consultation was carried out with the public or landowners, as this was not a legal requirement.

Last week the federal Coalition announced that, if elected, they would seek to have the recently approved extension of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area removed. It stated that the extension “was put in place against the will of the Tasmanian people”.

Process for delisting a World Heritage Area
There is no procedure for Australia to directly remove the extension to the TWWHA. The World Heritage Convention’s Operational Guidelines do not include any protocol for removing an Area while its Outstanding Universal Values remain intact. So it would seem that only the World Heritage Committee has the authority to decide to remove an area from the World Heritage List.

Only two WHAs have been removed previously; Germany’s Dresden Elbe Valley and Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary. Both were removed after the World Heritage Committee decided that the Outstanding Universal Values of those Areas were compromised or had been lost completely. It is therefore unclear at present how an elected Coalition government could proceed in removing the extension of the TWWHA from the World Heritage List.

Image: Area of Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, with the latest extension in orange.

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Indigenous Australians Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment taxation Sport illicit drugs people trafficking Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force higher education welfare policy United Nations Asia income management Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget gambling school education forced labour aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA health financing emissions trading Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Industrial Relations dental health National Disability Insurance Scheme slavery Senate election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service International Women's Day corruption Afghanistan Fair Work Act child protection people smuggling debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure poker machines ALP New Zealand Australian Crime Commission Newstart Parenting Payment 43rd Parliament political parties Census constitution High Court skilled migration voting Federal Court terrorist groups Higher Education Loan Program HECS youth paid parental leave Aviation environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers Special Rapporteur leadership United Kingdom UK Parliament Electoral reform politics banking firearms public policy violence against women domestic violence mental health China ADRV terrorism social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation governance public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing by-election European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas family assistance planning United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing Productivity asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Population Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity science research and development Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia accountability housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation expertise Senators and Members climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets health reform Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration health system Australia Greens money laundering servitude Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship human rights housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament citizenship Defence High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly public health smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking federal election 2010 workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions Norway

Show all
Show less
Back to top