Managing Australia's World Heritage
ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURES IN AUSTRALIA'S WORLD HERITAGE AREAS
Australian Fossil Mammal Sites
The Riversleigh and Naracoorte Fossil Mammal Sites are managed by government
agencies in their respective States (the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources in South Australia and DEH in Queensland). Commonwealth/State
administrative arrangements are still being discussed and developed. The
Australian Fossil Mammal Sites Scientific and Management Advisory Committee,
comprising scientists, representatives from the relevant Queensland and
South Australian land management agencies and Commonwealth officials,
has been constituted to provide specialist advice to the Queensland, South
Australian and Commonwealth Governments on matters such as the development
of management arrangements.
Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (Australia)
CERRA properties comprise around 60 separate parcels of land and are
managed by government agencies in their respective States (the New South
Wales NPWS and the Queensland DEH). Commonwealth/State administrative
arrangements include a coordinating Committee which has members from relevant
New South Wales, Queensland and Commonwealth agencies. A New South Wales/Commonwealth
Ministerial Council considers policy in relation to the New South Wales
portion of the property. DEH claimed that:
... there are some interim arrangements and they have a way to yet progress
before we see clearly how that might be structured across the jurisdiction
between New South Wales and Queensland by way of having a community advisory
committee and a scientific advisory committee for that particular property.
Fraser Island is managed by the Queensland DEH. Commonwealth/State administrative
arrangements for the property are currently the subject of negotiation
between the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments. The current management
arrangements for the Great Sandy Region, of which Fraser Island is part,
include an Interim Board of Management, a Community Advisory Committee
and a Scientific Advisory Committee. The Community Advisory Committee
represents a wide range of interests, including recreational groups, Aboriginals,
conservationists, tour operators, commercial fisherpeople, and the three
Island communities. While the two advisory committees meet regularly,
the Interim Board has not met for two years.
The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef world heritage area is managed jointly by the
State and Commonwealth. The GBRMPA is a Commonwealth statutory body with
overall responsibility for managing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park,
which covers 95 per cent of the world heritage property. The Queensland
DEH assists with the Marine Park's management and also manages those parts
of the world heritage property outside the Marine Park. Commonwealth/State
administrative arrangements include a Ministerial Council.
Consultative arrangements in place for managing the Marine Park include
- the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Council which has two Commonwealth
and two State members;
- the GBRMPA Board which has four members including the Authority Chairperson,
DEH's Chief Executive Officer, a representative from the marine scientific
fraternity and a representative from the Aboriginal community;
- the Great Barrier Reef Consultative Committee with 17 members from
a broad cross-section of government and community interests, up to one
third of whom are nominated by the State of Queensland;
- Regional Marine Resource Advisory Committees where local marine issues
can be disseminated and debated; and
- Aboriginal Councils of Elders which consult regularly with GBRMPA
The GBRMPA also consults with fisheries industry councils and planning
teams, land-use and catchment management groups, educational forums, local
government environmental impact assessment groups and State planning teams;
and broad public consultation occurs.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is managed by ANCA under the auspices of the Kakadu
Board of Management. The Board has 14 members including ten nominees of
the Aboriginal traditional owners, ANCA's Chief Executive Officer, the
regional ANCA executive, an ecologist, and a person with expertise in
There are a number of lease agreements between ANCA and the Kakadu Land
Trust and the Djabulukgu Land Trust. The leases make specific arrangements
for consultation with Aboriginal traditional owners of Kakadu National
Park. In addition, the Plan of Management makes provision for ANCA to
consult with local Aboriginal people and their representative organisations
regarding the management and development of the Park, including hunting
in the Park. The Plan also requires consultation with the tourism industry,
bushwalking groups, airspace users, recreational fishing groups and neighbours.
The Kakadu National Park Tourism Consultative Committee, for example,
meets quarterly to discuss tourism issues relevant to Kakadu. Furthermore,
the Kakadu Park Manager regularly meets with the members of the local
community such as business people, representatives of local government
and non-government organisations, the Northern Land Council, the Jabiru
Town Council, local Aboriginal organisations and the Kakadu Visitor Organisation.
Lord Howe Island Group
Lord Howe Island is managed by the Lord Howe Island Board. The Board
consists of the Secretary of the New South Wales Premier's Department,
the Director of the NPWS and three Island representatives who are elected
every three years. The Board fulfils the role of a local government authority
with day-to-day administrative matters handled by an Administrative Officer.
One Ministerial Council exists for all New South Wales properties which
include Lord Howe Island.
Shark Bay is managed by the Western Australian Department of Conservation
and Land Management. Commonwealth/State administrative arrangements are
currently being re-negotiated following the change in the State Government
but are expected to retain a Ministerial Council and the proposed Advisory
The Western Australian Government claimed to be committed to community
consultation through the following avenues:
- the Community Consultative Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee;
- the committees associated with the various planning activities;
- regular consultation with the Shires of Shark Bay and Carnarvon;
- the formation of a Community Advisory Committee for Project Eden;
- the release for public comment of a discussion paper on options for
the future use and tenure of the southern half of the former Peron Station;
- the circulation of newsletters.
The Tasmanian Wilderness
The day-to-day management of the Tasmanian Wilderness is carried out
by State Government agencies: the Tasmanian Department of Environment
and Land Management through its Parks and Wildlife Service manages 99
per cent of the property while the Tasmanian Forestry Commission manages
one per cent.
A Ministerial Council, a Standing Committee and a Consultative Committee
are in place. The Ministerial Council comprises two representatives each
of the State and Commonwealth Governments. The Standing Committee, which
comprises representatives of relevant State and Commonwealth departments,
was established to advise the Ministerial Council and oversee policies,
programs, funding arrangements and the administration and preparation
of management plans.
The Consultative Committee comprises seven members nominated by the
State Government, seven nominated by the Commonwealth Government and a
Chairperson who is a joint State/Commonwealth appointment. The members
come from a range of government departments and interest groups including
an archaeologist, a botanist and representatives from local government,
the forest industry, conservation groups, recreational groups, the tourism
industry and the Aboriginal community. The Committee meets four times
a year and advises the Standing Committee and the Ministerial Council.
In addition, a number of advisory committees have been set up in particular
areas as required, such as for site plans for Cradle Valley and Melaleuca.
Other issues tackled by special committees include horseriding, the walking
track strategy, and assessing traditional practices. In most cases these
committees report to the Tasmanian Minister for Parks and Wildlife.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
ANCA, in conjunction with the Park's Anangu owners, has direct responsibility
for the management of the Park. Inalienable freehold title to the Park
was handed back to the traditional owners on 26 October 1985 and is held
by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Land Trust. The Trust has leased the Park to the
Commonwealth for 99 years for its continued use as a National Park. A
Board of Management was established in April 1986, to manage the Park
in conjunction with ANCA's Chief Executive Officer. The Board has an Anangu
majority and consists of :
- six Aboriginal members nominated by the traditional Aboriginal owners;
- one member nominated by the Federal Minister responsible for tourism;
- one member nominated by the Federal Minister responsible for the environment;
- one scientist experienced in both and land ecology and the management
of such land; and
- ANCA's Chief Executive Officer.
Both the lease and the plan of management emphasise community consultation.
Consultation between ANCA, Anangu and the Mutitjulu Community occurs
both formally and informally. Anangu input into the development of park
management policy is primarily through the Board of Management. For the
implementation of Board policy and day-to-day management matters, the
Park Manager consults with the Mutitjulu Community Council. In addition,
ANCA has established an Uluru National Park Tourism Consultative Committee
which has representatives from regional tourism organisations including
the Northern Territory Tourist Commission, the Central Australian Tourist
Industry Association, the Ayers Rock Resort Company and other groups.
Wet Tropics of Queensland
The day-to-day management of the Wet Tropics world heritage area is
carried out by State Government agencies, under the auspices of a formal
intergovernmental agreement between the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments.
A Ministerial Council provides the platform for equal partnership in overseeing
the management of the area. The Queensland Wet Tropics World Heritage
Protection and Management Act 1993 and complementary Commonwealth
legislation formalise the area's management scheme.
The WTMA is a Queensland statutory authority with the responsibility
for managing the world heritage area. The WTMA comprises a Board of five
Directors, an Executive Director and staff. The five part-time directors
of the Board comprise two appointed by the Queensland Government, two
appointed by the Commonwealth Government and a chairperson who is appointed
by agreement between the governments. Under Queensland legislation, the
WTMA is required to appoint two advisory committees - the Wet Tropics
Community Consultative Committee with 16 representatives of the regional
community and the Scientific Advisory Committee with eight representatives
of the scientific community. The WTMA has endorsed an initiative of the
Aboriginal community to establish a cooperative, Bama Wabu, to represent
Aboriginal advice to the WTMA. A Tourism Liaison Group facilitates communications
between the WTMA, the land managers and the tourism industry.
Willandra Lakes Region
Willandra Lakes is managed by New South Wales Government agencies including
the Department of Land and Water Conservation and the NPWS. The Commonwealth/State
administrative arrangements include a Ministerial Council, a Community
Management Council, and a Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee.
Membership of these bodies consist of:
- Ministerial Council - the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment,
the Commonwealth Minister for the Arts, the State Minister for Land
and Water Conservation and the State Minister for the Environment;
- Community Management Council - an independent chairperson, five landholder
representatives, five Aboriginal representatives, a DEST representative,
a Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee representative, and representatives
from the New South Wales NPWS and Department of Conservation and Land
- Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee - a Chairperson, an archaeologist,
a geomorphologist, a rangeland scientist, an ecologist, three Aboriginal
representatives, three landholder representatives, and representatives
from the New South Wales NPWS and Department of Conservation and Land
 Queensland Government, transcript, 15 November
1995, p 265.
 Department of the Environment, Sport and
Territories, submission (number 78), pp 3-4.
 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,
submission (number 59), pp 8-10.
 Australian Nature Conservation Agency, submission
(number 37), pp 10, 16-21.
 Western Australian Government, submission
(number 56), p 11.
 Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
Consultative Committee, submission (number 25), p 1.
 Tasmanian Government, submission (number
63), p 8.
 Australian Nature Conservation Agency, submission
(number 37), pp 6-7, 13,15.
 Wet Tropics Management Authority, submission
(number 77), p 10-11.
 Willandra Landholders Protection Group,
submission (number 23), pp 2-3.
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