House of Representatives Committees

Managing Australia's World Heritage

CHAPTER 4: MANAGEMENT OF WORLD HERITAGE AREAS

Commonwealth and State responsibilities

4.1 According to Mr Lucas, Vice-Chair of World Heritage for the IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas, Australia faces challenges in managing its world heritage areas because of the involvement of different levels of government. [1] Some of the difficulties that have arisen between the Commonwealth and the States on this score are discussed in Chapters 2 and 3.

4.2 In addition, world heritage properties comprise a wide variety of land tenures including freehold, perpetual lease, pastoral lease, town reserve, State forest, national park, nature reserve, Aboriginal reserve and recreational and essential services reserves. For instance, the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (CERRA) comprises parcels of land in New South Wales and Queensland including national parks, nature reserves and flora reserves. The Wet Tropics of Queensland includes private freehold land, leasehold, national parks, State forests, Crown lands and Aboriginal land. With so many stakeholders involved with such world heritage areas, there is an added layer of interested parties who, for best results in world heritage management, should be consulted about the areas' management.

4.3 With respect to Commonwealth/State relationships in managing world heritage areas, State authorities have responsibility for day-to-day management in the majority of cases, while the Commonwealth maintains an involvement through regular consultations. Schedule 8 of the IGAE refers to the relationship between the Commonwealth and States in the management of world heritage properties:

DEST confirmed that it regarded cooperation with the States and Territories as the best way of preserving Australia's natural and cultural heritage. [2]

4.4 The primacy of the Commonwealth in world heritage management and the need for shared responsibility with the States were recognised by the participants at the ACIUCN's workshop on world heritage management. These views were expressed formally among the principles of the Richmond Communique as follows:

4.5 Other witnesses emphasised the importance of the Commonwealth as the ultimate authority in the management of world heritage areas. For example, although the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) supported the involvement of both State and Territory Governments in world heritage management, it believed that the responsibility cannot be totally delegated to the States and Territories:

4.6 The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) pointed out that, while consultation that fosters understanding and cooperation between all parties is highly desirable, it cannot substitute for the national and international obligations of the Commonwealth to intervene in world heritage matters. [5] The North Queensland Conservation Council (NQCC) also felt that, in State managed properties, the Commonwealth must ensure that the States manage their world heritage properties to a standard that world heritage status deserves. [6] Professor Atherton claimed that an overriding authority is needed that would set overall goals and strategies for greater consistency in the management of world heritage areas. [7]

4.7 In addition, Mr Ian Dutton, Senior Lecturer in Planning at Southern Cross University, maintained that the Commonwealth should be responsible for the management of world heritage areas and clearer definitions of these responsibilities need to be established:

Management structures

Commonwealth management arrangements

4.8 DEST, through its World Heritage Unit, administers world heritage matters in Australia, in consultation with other Commonwealth departments and the States and Territories. The other Commonwealth agencies include:

Consistent management structures and the 'DEST model'

4.9 Part of DEST's responsibility is to negotiate with the States about management arrangements with the intent of formalising consistent management structures. The development of more consistent management arrangements for all Australia's world heritage areas is a priority for Government. In the then Prime Minister's 1992 statement Maintaining Our Natural Advantage, $2.25 million was allocated over four years towards the development and implementation of a more consistent world heritage management system.

4.10 Following that commitment, DEST held meetings with officials from State Governments to develop consistent management arrangements. In seeking to introduce such arrangements, DEST has been working towards the establishment of a Commonwealth/State Ministerial Council for each State supported by a committee of senior government officials, along with specific structures such as community consultation committees and scientific advisory committees tailored to the needs of individual properties. DEST expects these arrangements to be formalised through a range of Commonwealth/State agreements. [10]

4.11 Support for DEST's management model has come from a number of sources. For example, the ACIUCN recommended to the Committee a basic model for world heritage management that closely resembles that promoted by DEST:

The same elements form part of the generic management model proposed by Professors Boer and Fowler in their report on the adequacy of existing legislative and administrative arrangements for protecting world heritage. This model also includes DEST's World Heritage Unit with its advisory and coordinating role in management, and the suggestion that certain elements of the model should be anchored in complementary Commonwealth/State legislation or formal agreement between the Commonwealth and the States. [12]

4.12 In addition, the ACIUCN's Richmond Conference on world heritage management proposed management structures which resembled those of the DEST model with respect to community and scientific committees for each world heritage area. The Richmond Communique proposals were that:

4.13 Industry groups and conservation groups have also supported the DEST model. The MCA claimed that the DEST model is structurally sound and the industry has been prepared to work with it. [14] The NFF stated that it strongly supported the principles of the Richmond Communique that deal with community consultation and management structures. [15] The Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) claimed that the inadequate consultation arrangements up until now could be overcome by the establishment of Ministerial Councils, community committees and scientific committees immediately after listing. [16] According to the CCWA, some areas have combined the community consultative committee and the scientific and technical committee and this works well:

4.14 Support for the DEST model has been forthcoming from the State Governments. The Western Australian Government, for example, proposed that the State/Commonwealth agreement for Shark Bay should contain provision for a Ministerial Council comprising State and Commonwealth Ministers, a community consultative committee with majority local membership and an expert scientific advisory committee. [18] Queensland's Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) stated that it strongly supported the use of community advisory committees and scientific advisory committees as a means of engaging the community and achieving the objectives of the Convention to make world heritage properties part of the life of the community. [19] An assessment of the operation of the arrangements established so far suggests that they have led to significantly better relationships between the States and Commonwealth. [20]

4.15 While recognising the usefulness of a consistent approach to management structures, several witnesses pointed out that this does not mean that the management arrangements in each world heritage area should be identical. One model of management for all world heritage areas may not appropriate. As Dr Ralph Chapman pointed out, the Commonwealth 'should not seek to impose a "one best way" rather a "one best outcome". The differences between WHAs is so great as to make one model totally inappropriate'. [21]

4.16 DEST agreed that the arrangements established should take account of local needs:

Queensland's DEH believed that it is appropriate for the Commonwealth in managing world heritage properties to ensure a consistency of approach to management in all properties. However, recognising the particular needs of each jurisdiction and the capability and willingness of each jurisdiction to effectively manage World Heritage properties must also be considered. [23]

4.17 The Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA) pointed out that the size, tenure, ownership, complexity, history and management needs of world heritage areas vary greatly. The most effective and appropriate management arrangements for one area may be inappropriate for another. The WTMA maintained that, although there may be a case for standardising certain elements of management arrangements, there is no case for a fully standardised set of management arrangements to be applied to all world heritage areas. The WTMA suggested that an important factor to be considered in determining the appropriateness of management arrangements is an analysis of the community of interest. For example, a remote world heritage area which is all national park, has no native title or other private interests and receives minimal visitation, has a lesser case for fully participatory management arrangements such as those in the Wet Tropics. [24]

4.18 The Committee considers that DEST's suggested management structures are appropriate and agrees with the ACIUCN that the most useful approach to establishing consistent arrangements across all properties is to modify the basic model on the basis of an examination of each property's needs. [25] The Committee recommends that:

Existing management structures

4.19 The administrative arrangements vary in different world heritage areas. The majority of Australia's world heritage areas are managed by State agencies, either independently or under joint arrangement with the Commonwealth. Three styles of management arrangements are in place in Australia's world heritage areas:

4.20 Further description of the management structure in each world heritage area in Australia is provided in Table 4.1 and Appendix F. Table 4.1 shows the extent to which the elements of DEST's model have been established for each world heritage area. It includes, as well, information about an additional element in the management structure of world heritage areas, the board of management, which provides another forum for input by different stakeholders.

Comments on the operation of the management arrangements

a) Commonwealth administration of Northern Territory world heritage areas

4.21 The two world heritage areas in the Northern Territory differ from Australia's other world heritage areas in that they are managed entirely by the Commonwealth. The Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory suggested it is anomalous that the Territory should not have responsibility for such a 'State-type' matter, given that executive authority for other Territory parks and reserves was transferred to it when it achieved self government in 1978. The Commission criticised this arrangement as 'inconsistent with the constitutional development of the Northern Territory'. [26]

4.22 The Commission advanced other arguments in favour of its managing Uluru and Kakadu. It claimed that, based on its performance with its existing parks, it could manage Uluru and Kakadu more cheaply than ANCA does. [27] It also saw:

The Commission also drew the Committee's attention to section 2.5.4 of the IGAE which provides for the elimination of functional duplication in environmental management, and suggested that, with the approval of the traditional owners, both world heritage areas be transferred to Territory control. [29] The Tourism Council Australia (TCA) also supported such a transfer. [30]

Table 4.1—Management arrangements in Australia's world heritage properties, as at November 1995

Management Structure
Property Date inscribed Ministerial Council Commonwealth, State and Local Government Committee

Board of Management Community Advisory Body or representation Scientific Advisory Body or representation
Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh, Naracoorte) 1994 under negotiation yes no no yes
Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (Australia) 1986, 1994 yes yes - no local government representation. no no no
Fraser Island 1992 under negotiation under negotiation under negotiation yes yes
Great Barrier Reef 1981 yes yes yes yes several
Kakadu National Park 1981, 1987, 1992 not applicable yes

Commonwealth and Northern Territory

yes yes no
Lord Howe Island Group 1982 yes yes

no Commonwealth representation

yes no no
Shark Bay 1991 under negotiation under negotiation no under negotiation under negotiation
Tasmanian Wilderness 1982, 1989 yes yes no yes

combined with scientific advisory committee

yes

combined with community advisory committee

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park 1986, 1994 not applicable no

Commonwealth only

yes yes no
Wet Tropics of Queensland 1988 yes yes yes yes yes
Willandra Lakes Region 1981 yes yes - no local government representative no yes yes

Sources: Nicholls & King, pp 9-10 (see footnote 22, Chapter 4); Evaluation Report, p iii .(see footnote 20, Chapter 4).

4.23 The Aboriginal people of Kakadu and Uluru are the owners of the land, which they currently lease to ANCA, and any transfer of management responsibility from ANCA to the Northern Territory could not proceed without their support. There appears to be a variety of views on this subject among them. For example, during a visit to Kakadu, the Committee was told that, the Gagadju people and the Board of Management opposed any transfer, and the Board had written to the Prime Minister to point this out. The Anangu of Uluru are also reported to prefer that the current management arrangements continue. [31] However, the Jawoyn Association take a different view: Jawoyn land, which is regarded as indivisible, straddles the boundary between Kakadu and Nitmiluk and is under the control of two different boards of management. The Association is happy with the arrangement whereby their land in Nitmiluk National Park is managed by the Parks and Wildlife Commission under the direction of the Nitmiluk Board, and has also written to the Prime Minister to this effect. [32] In its letter, the Association stated that it saw no sense in not extending this arrangement to all Jawoyn land. The views of the land councils would also need to be considered in determining future responsibilities for Kakadu and Uluru because the councils negotiate the leases for the parks.

4.24 The Committee heard criticism of ANCA by representatives of the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission, particularly about ANCA's performance at Kakadu. It was suggested that there was a lack of cooperation on matters such as weed control and feral animal programs. Whether or not these criticism are valid, it does appear that the relationship between ANCA and the Commission has deteriorated and is in urgent need of improvement. There is a risk that the lack of cooperation and failure to coordinate activities will have an adverse impact on the integrity of the world heritage areas. As a minimum the two agencies have much to learn from one another and both could achieve some efficiencies in their operations by working in concert. One way in which this might be achieved could be to re-establish the arrangement whereby Kakadu National Park was staffed by officers of the predecessors of both the Parks and Wildlife Commission and ANCA under a memorandum of understanding between the two. This would facilitate communication and cooperation between the two agencies at a local level, but there would also be a need for more formal consultation at a higher level.

4.25 The Committee was advised that the Parks and Wildlife Commission has recently been included in a planning team that is contributing to the preparation of the new management plan for Kakadu. This arrangement should also facilitate an improvement in relations between the two agencies and other remedies might also be possible. For example, there should be regular, formal meetings between senior officers of the two agencies and, subject to the agreement of the traditional owners, a Commission officer might attend Kakadu National Park Board meetings as an observer. The Committee considers that the two agencies, working together, ought to be able to resolve the current problems. The Committee recommends that:

b) The World Heritage Unit

4.26 The World Heritage Unit (WHU) was established in 1993 as the result of the then Prime Minister's Environment Statement. Its responsibilities are, as set out in paragraph 1.14, to advise; coordinate legal, financial and management arrangements; monitor and report; and promote awareness of world heritage. In 1995 the WHU's effectiveness and efficiency was evaluated and the continued relevance of its objectives and funding considered. The evaluation was carried out by a steering committee comprising officers from the IUCN, ICOMOS, the WHU, the Department of Finance, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, and management agencies in Queensland and New South Wales.

4.27 The Committee notes the steering committee's conclusion that the WHU was structured in such as way as to allow it to carry out its tasks efficiently. The funding it had administered had 'significantly contributed to advancement of more consistent management arrangements', and had been 'effective in helping the Commonwealth better meet its obligations under the WH Convention'. [33] The Committee identified two issues as needing greater attention in the future: the development of best practice, and a more explicit basis for management plans and arrangements in world heritage values. This latter point is developed more fully later in this chapter.

c) Ministerial Councils

4.28 Under DEST's model there should be a Ministerial Council for each world heritage property with the exception of the properties managed by the Commonwealth. These councils oversee strategic long-term planning, provide advice on forward expenditure programs and receive and act on advice from the scientific and community advisory committees. A separate Ministerial Council for each individual property is not necessary. For instance, one Ministerial Council is in place for all New South Wales properties. [34]

4.29 The Queensland Government stated that, while dialogue between State and Commonwealth Ministers is desirable, it did not support a separate Ministerial Council for each world heritage property. It proposed that the Commonwealth should actively pursue Ministerial arrangements which minimise the need for additional Ministerial Councils. [35] DEST recognised the difficulties faced by the Queensland Government, particularly with properties shared with other States, that is, the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites and CERRA. DEST's view is that, although these are difficult situations to sort through, there should be some oversight at Ministerial level for all non-Commonwealth properties. [36] The Committee notes that Lord Howe Island has been identified as a site particularly in need of inter-governmental oversight. [37]

d) Involving the community

4.30 Participation by the community is an important aspect of DEST's management model as described earlier in this chapter. Furthermore, participants at the workshop on world heritage management organised by the ACIUCN recognised the importance for the managers of world heritage areas of involving and consulting the community and other stakeholders. The Richmond Communique contained the following principles of information and consultation:

4.31 Peak industry bodies also placed emphasis on local community participation in management issues. They emphasised the notion that shared ownership of world heritage processes and management by all affected business and communities is important. An essential feature of management is ongoing community support operating as an accompaniment to the preservation of world heritage values. [39] The Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union also made this point:

Where consultation has not occurred, mistrust about the whole world heritage process has developed. [41]

4.32 Other witnesses to the inquiry maintained that local communities and industries know and understand their home areas better than city people who have little rural experience and are based a long distance away. [42] The Orchid Beach Community of Fraser Island, for example, claimed that:

From their extensive understanding of the area, local people can help to identify issues, options and solutions in managing world heritage areas.

4.33 Participants at a workshop organised by the Committee identified other benefits of consultation. When it is well-managed, consultation with local communities builds trust between them and world heritage managers, and reduces the likelihood of conflict and with it the cost of management. It also allows the managers to 'test reality' before embarking on a course of action. The Committee notes, however, that there are disadvantages in consulting: it is expensive and time-consuming and, even when done well, may not resolve difficulties - indeed it may exacerbate them.

4.34 The DEST model of management includes a community committee for each world heritage area. The Committee heard evidence that community consultation arrangements worked well in some world heritage areas, although community groups are reported to have expressed some concern about the adequacy, extent and frequency of consultation. [44] Mr Dutton from Southern Cross University claimed that the consultation arrangements in place in Commonwealth properties, with their 'excellent mechanisms in place for community and technical input', were more developed than in non-Commonwealth properties. [45] DEST agreed that the management arrangements in properties for which the Commonwealth has direct responsibility have worked effectively. It believed that these arrangements have provided local communities with opportunities to contribute to management planning and decision making. [46]

4.35 Mr Valentine of James Cook University, who is the chairman of the Wet Tropics consultative committee, praised the community consultation model in the Wet Tropics and recommended that it should be used as a model for managing other multi-tenure world heritage areas. He claimed that the model provides for the integration of the various activities within the world heritage area with options for development in nearby areas. Community participation is used to establish priorities and discuss management issues, and cooperative land management arrangements have been put in place with local government. [47] In addition, the WTMA supports community development programs which increase the skills and capacities of communities, particularly smaller rural communities, to take a more active role in management. [48] The Committee did, however, receive some criticism of the WTMA's consultative processes leading up to the production of its draft management plan. [49] The level of community consultation and participation was also singled out by the Minister of the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, in his Budget statement, as an area that could be improved. [50]

4.36 The GBRMPA has a policy of maximising public involvement in all aspects of decision making. In its submission to the inquiry, it stated that 'although such a policy has significant resource implications, we believe, and it is our experience, that we cannot be effective without community support, or at least understanding'. [51] An example of the GBRMPA's consultative approach is the development of the 25 Year Strategic Plan for the Marine Park, in which over 70 stakeholder groups participated. The intent of the plan is that participating organisations have joint responsibility for its implementation, [52] so the plan is 'not an Authority document but rather represents a consensus view from all levels of government and stakeholders as to how the area should be managed'. [53] The GBRMPA was awarded the UNESCO Einstein Medal for the quality of its planning and management processes, which are largely based on effective public participation.

4.37 The consultation arrangements used to draft the recently completed management plan for the Willandra Lakes were rated highly by Mr Alastair Howard, an executive director in the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). The Willandra Lakes draft management plan was prepared in consultation with all the land-holders in the Willandra and the Aboriginal groups in the area. Mr Howard claimed that the community consultation process that occurred at Willandra Lakes sets a model for other world heritage areas and made clear that consultation should start at the outset:

The Committee was told, however, that the conservation movement was not involved in, and had concerns about, the consultation processes. [55]

4.38 The Committee is pleased that the current consultative arrangements for the Willandra Lakes world heritage area appear to be a great improvement on previous practices. Mr Ted Richardson, Secretary of the Willandra Landholders Protection Group, described how 'in 1980 we learnt of the Willandra nomination via the newspapers, no notification, no consultation, no looking at the possible social or economic impacts, just bang, you're nominated'. The 17 families that lived in the Willandra Lakes world heritage area then experienced 'years of governmental procrastination and non commitment' over the planning processes at Willandra Lakes that brought with them 'uncertainty, deceit, stress and financial disaster'. [56] Mr Richardson told the Committee that:

It is the Committee's view that such a situation should never have arisen, even less that it should have been prolonged for so long. It welcomes the fact that both State and Commonwealth Governments have learnt from this unfortunate episode and put a model process in place.

4.39 Several witnesses from Fraser Island expressed disappointment at the community consultation arrangements in place in that world heritage area. It was suggested that members of the Community Advisory Committee had lost interest because they saw the existence of the Committee as having minimal value, being no more than a public relations exercise. Members were disillusioned and frustrated because decisions made by the Committee were not acted on by the managing agency. [58] Consultation arrangements with local communities were also considered inadequate because the Interim Board of Management and the Great Sandy Region Community Advisory Committee had no decision making power, public meetings were rarely held to explore community attitudes, and a survey carried out to determine community opinions on the management plan failed to employ a valid sample of respondents and the analysis and interpretation were seen as biased. [59] It was pointed out to the Committee at the time of its public hearing in Brisbane that the representatives on the Community Advisory Committee were appointed by DEH, with the person appointed to represent the community being a national parks employee. [60] Mr Tony Charters, Director of Environmental Management at Kingfisher Bay Resort, agreed that the consultation arrangements were deficient. He explained that formal processes for setting up advisory committees had not been established and consultation with the Government on a strategic level was limited. He also mentioned that representatives from the Resort had not been contacted by Community Advisory Committee members; this was indicative of the lack of communication on the Island. [61]

4.40 In response, DEH pointed out that the Government was interested in the views of the people who are part of the Community Advisory Committee because it provided an effective input into the way in which DEH managed its responsibilities in world heritage areas. However, that did not mean that all the advice given by community committees would be taken up by the Government. [62]

4.41 Other world heritage area consultative groups also felt that their concerns were being ignored. Ms Helen Gee, a member of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area Consultative Committee (TWHACC), claimed that the advice of the Committee was not taken up by the Ministerial Council:

The National Council of Women of Tasmania was also critical of the consultative arrangements in that State. It maintained that the community was divided on matters relating to world heritage management because of the lack of an ongoing national consultative or mediative process by which consensus and compromise might be achieved. [64] These views were, however, at odds with those expressed in the recent evaluation of the World Heritage Unit. [65]

4.42 Furthermore, Professor Michael Archer, Head of the Riversleigh Research Project, claimed that there was no formal involvement by the Queensland NPWS of the palaeontologists most closely associated with research at Riversleigh when the initial management plan for the area was produced:

The Committee agrees with the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) which pointed to the useful contribution technical advisory committees can make at a professional level to world heritage management. An example of such a committee is that associated with the WTMA. [67]

Conclusion

4.43 From the evidence it collected, including the workshop it ran with world heritage specialists, the Committee identified a number of critical elements for successful consultation. Some of the more important elements that contribute to effective consultative processes are listed below.

In short, consultative processes must be clearly defined, transparent, inclusive and accountable.

4.44 Based on its review of the operation of consultative processes involving the community and scientific and technical groups, the Committee strongly supports the involvement of the whole community in decision making processes for world heritage areas. This process should start when the nomination of an area is first considered and continue thereafter. The Committee notes the suggestion from its workshop that one of the roles that the Commonwealth might usefully assume is that of setting standards for consultation and disseminating information about best practice. Professors Boer and Fowler also nominated this as an appropriate topic for inclusion in a world heritage manual. [70] The Committee therefore recommends that:

In later sections of the chapter, consultation with special interest groups and segments of the community is considered in more detail.

e) Boards of management

4.45 Boards of management have been established under the legislation of the world heritage areas where there is significant sharing of responsibilities or ownership. Boards are responsible for the management of the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef world heritage areas and the two Commonwealth-operated parks in the Northern Territory. Lord Howe Island also has a board, which is responsible not only for the management of the island's world heritage values but also the welfare of the island's community. In general, the State-managed world heritage areas do not have boards of management, although an interim board of management was established during the world heritage nomination of Fraser Island to prepare a management plan and legislation for the Great Sandy Region of which Fraser Island is part.

4.46 The boards represent forums where advice from government and the community can be brought to bear on management policy and practice in a very focussed manner, and advice can be provided to government on world heritage management. There are Commonwealth and State Government nominees on all the boards except that of Lord Howe Island which has only State Government nominees. Five of the six directors on the board of management of the Wet Tropics Management Authority are private citizens, and three of the five Lord Howe Island board members are elected from the community. The boards of both Kakadu and Uluru National Parks have Aboriginal majorities, and there is an Aboriginal member on the GBRMPA board. Input from other interests can be included by allowing them to attend board meetings as observers.

4.47 From the evidence it received the Committee formed the opinion that the boards of Kakadu, Uluru and the GBRMPA were operating effectively. It observed, however, that there were some concerns about the WTMA board; for example, considerable problems were experienced in appointing a board chairman and some view the board as having too few members. The Committee was particularly concerned, however, by criticisms of the operation of Fraser Island's Interim Board of Management. Mr John Sinclair, for example, told the Committee that:

4.48 Mr Sinclair believed that DEH had failed to establish an independent board of management because it was 'unwilling to expose itself to the rigors of close examination of its management practices'. He claimed that DEH wanted an exclusive monopoly to define as well as to implement management policies which was inappropriate. [72] The Committee notes Mr Sinclair's call for the shortcomings to be resolved by greater Commonwealth involvement in the management of Fraser Island. The Fraser Island Association also made suggestions about the composition of the new board. [73]

4.49 DEST confirmed that the Interim Board had not met for two years, nor had it been replaced by a permanent one as intended, despite ongoing negotiations between the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments. DEST commented in its submission of 5 July 1996 that the Queensland Government has 'continued to be relatively unresponsive and no major progress has been made on setting up permanent management structures'. According to DEST, the Commonwealth has suggested that the membership of the board should have a higher level of representation from the Commonwealth, more representation from community groups and less from local government. [74]

4.50 The Committee noted that participants at its workshop supported a role for boards in the administratively more complex world heritage areas, but did not see a need for them elsewhere. It is possible that one reason for the impasse between the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments over the establishment of a board for Fraser Island may be the Queensland's Government's view, which was articulated to the Committee in November 1995: 'it is not easy to see how, within the arrangements that we have in Queensland for managing protected areas, you could create that sort of organisational arrangement'. [75]

4.51 The Committee considers that boards backed by legislation are a useful, if not essential, addition to the other elements of DEST's preferred management structures for certain world heritage areas. However, more thought needs to be given to the circumstances in which they are appropriate and the factors to consider in setting the size and composition of each board.

f) Involving indigenous people

4.52 During the inquiry, the Committee met with Aboriginal people at Uluru and Kakadu and heard directly from one other Aboriginal group regarding world heritage areas. In its submission, the Thoorgine Educational and Cultural Centre Aboriginal Corporation (TECCAC) from Fraser Island complained of a lack of consultation. Mr Duncan McInnes, the then Director of TECCAC, told the Committee that the Aboriginal people on Fraser Island did not believe that they were consulted properly during the drafting of the Great Sandy Region management plan. While they had a good relationship with DEH and their rangers on the ground, there had been breakdowns in communication with middle to senior management. [76] TECCAC concluded that the Commonwealth Government should become more involved with local Aboriginal people within world heritage areas to ensure that Aboriginal interests are not overridden because of expediency or a lack of interest from the managing agencies:

4.53 One way of improving relationships with the Aboriginal people associated with Fraser Island would be, as recommended by Mr McInnes, to appoint Aboriginal people to the Fraser Island board of management, when established. [78] Dr Dermot Smyth, a consultant in cultural ecology, also claimed that managing agencies gave insufficient attention to addressing Aboriginal peoples' cultures and other interests. He identified the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics and Fraser Island as areas where management fails to adequately recognise Aboriginal interests. [79] DEH's response to these remarks was that the Queensland Government's approach has been one of encouraging Aboriginal involvement in the management of protected areas, both by employment on the properties and by participation in decision making processes. [80] For example, the WTMA board has an Aboriginal member, GBRMPA has had extensive consultation over management and planning in the reef area with indigenous people, and Aboriginal people have been involved in the Community Advisory Committee on Fraser Island.

4.54 The GBRMPA claimed that it has taken a proactive role in consulting with indigenous communities living adjacent to the marine park. Furthermore, there is also Aboriginal representation on the Great Barrier Reef Consultative Committee, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 has been amended to appoint an Aboriginal person to the GBRMPA board to factor in the considerations of indigenous people into the management of the park. [81]

4.55 ANCA told the Committee that its staff are committed to the success of consultation and joint management. [82] The statutory and legal arrangements pertaining to both the Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta world heritage areas ensure the ongoing involvement of local Aboriginal communities in the management of these National Parks. Under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, the boards of management of both parks have Aboriginal majorities. The boards act both as advisers and the final arbiters in the preparation of management plans, and oversee the ongoing management of the parks. In addition, the terms of the lease arrangements for both parks cover the maintenance of Aboriginal tradition, Aboriginal involvement through consultation, employment and business development, and promoting an understanding of Aboriginal culture. The Kakadu lease provides for its termination if issues of detriment to the Aboriginal traditional owners cannot be resolved. [83] The Committee notes that this provision could result in activities unfavourable to the protection of the world heritage values of the park.

4.56 Apart from the advantages for local indigenous people, there are clear benefits from their involvement for world heritage area management. These benefits have been listed in the case of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta world heritage area by Mr Julian Barry, the Park Manager, in relation to interpretation, scientific research, land and visitor management, and infrastructure planning. Mr Barry commented that 'the Uluru-Kata Tjuta model shows that when Aboriginal people are remunerated and in a position of strength, they are enthusiastic about sharing much of their cultural knowledge with non-Aboriginal people'. As a result, visitors to Uluru have exceptional access to Aboriginal cultural information and interpretation material, a fact much appreciated by the tourist industry. [84]

4.57 The Committee notes that in April 1994 the Board of Management of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and ANCA were awarded the UNESCO Picasso Gold Medal for their outstanding achievements in the cultural sphere of world heritage management. The medal recognised that Australia has set new international standards for World Heritage management by indigenous people through the arrangements put in place in the Park.

4.58 Some criticism of ANCA's involvement of Aboriginals in world heritage management was made by the Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory. The Commission claimed that the Northern Territory Government's consultative arrangements with traditional Aboriginal owners of Nitmiluk National Park are superior to the Commonwealth's arrangements for Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta:

4.59 ANCA acknowledged that there are differences in the management of its and the Northern Territory Aboriginal parks, although there are also considerable similarities. It pointed out that the arrangements for the Northern Territory parks were established after those for ANCA's parks, which allowed for the experiences of operating Uluru and Kakadu to be built on. The differences between Nitmiluk and Kakadu's arrangements, which are summarised in Table 4.2, suggest that the Nitmiluk board has greater independence than Kakadu's. However, as ANCA pointed out, the on-ground processes which give effect to the structural arrangements work successfully from both ANCA's and the Aboriginals' points of view. [86]

Table 4.2—The main differences between the Australian Nature Conservation Agency's management arrangements for Kakadu and the Northern Territory Government's management arrangements for Nitmiluk

Item Australian Nature Conservation Agency (ANCA) Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory (PWC)
Management plan Can be changed by the Minister for the Environment before being presented to Parliament Cannot be altered by the Minister before it is laid before the Legislative Assembly; the Assembly can reject it in whole or part
Board Manages jointly with ANCA's Director Is statutorily separate from PWC's Director and can appoint staff and receive money
Board membership 10/14 members are traditional owners 8/13 members are traditional owners
ANCA officers are not required to sit on the board 4/13 members must be permanent Parks and Wildlife Commission staff
Minister appoints members with approval from the Northern Land Council

Source: Australian Nature Conservation Agency, submission (number 90), pp 3-4.


4.60 The Committee judges from the evidence received that the management arrangements in Commonwealth managed properties effectively involve the indigenous people, or are moving in that direction. The Committee considers that agencies should monitor the effectiveness of the involvement of indigenous people in managing national parks, analyse the practices used, and identify improvements to combined management arrangements in world heritage areas. It notes that one of DEST's functions is listed as 'increased involvement with Aboriginal ... communities to ensure cultural values are protected even though a property is not listed for cultural values', and commends this approach. [87] To assist DEST and world heritage management agencies, a number of protocols for involving indigenous people have been suggested. [88] The Committee recommends that:

g) Involving the tourism industry

4.61 The tourism industry is involved with the management of world heritage areas in a variety of ways. Tourism interests are represented on the boards of Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta, on consultative committees in Tasmania and at Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu, and on liaison groups associated with the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics world heritage areas. The Commonwealth Minister for Tourism is a member of the Ministerial Councils for the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics and New South Wales's world heritage areas. Commenting to the Committee in 1995, both the Department and TCA stated that theconsultative model that had been established between the tourist industry and the GBRMPA was successful. [89] As of August 1996 the GBRMPA was about to start a review of tourism use of the Reef in partnership with the tourist industry with the aim of developing strategic tourism use policy and management mechanisms. [90] The Committee was concerned, however, to learn that the TCA reported less satisfactory experiences of consultation with ANCA, especially in relation to Kakadu.

4.62 The tourism industry also indicated to the Committee that it wished to play a greater participatory role in the decision making processes. It saw itself as having potential to be a major player in the management of protected areas in general. The then Commonwealth Department of Tourism observed that 'it is important ... that the planning processes provide for stakeholder input'; such input should extend to consultation about development applications. [91] The TCA also called for more tourist industry participation when decisions about world heritage areas are being made, and called for an industry representation on the Kakadu and Uluru boards. [92]

4.63 The Committee acknowledges that tourism is a major user of world heritage areas and it is important that consultative links are established between the managers and the tourism industry. As world heritage areas are major drawcards for tourists, the tourism industry should be involved in management. The Committee noted Professor Atherton's argument that tourist operators should be more involved with world heritage management:

A greater role for the tourist industry, beyond that of simply being consulted about the management of world heritage areas, is discussed further in the last section of this chapter.

Management plans

World heritage area management plans

4.64 The Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention state that natural sites nominated for world heritage listing 'should have a management plan':

4.65 DEST reported to the Committee that:

The progress that has been made in preparing plans for the management of Australia's world heritage areas is summarised below. [96]

4.66 The management plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness covers 1992-97. [97] It was agreed by the State and Commonwealth Ministerial Council and details how the area should be managed as world heritage. [98] The management plan of the Great Sandy Region, which includes Fraser Island, was prepared by the Queensland Government. [99] The plan, which will be reviewed in 1999, also acknowledges Fraser Island's world heritage values.

4.67 The management of the Great Barrier Reef is largely controlled by four zoning plans established by the GBRMPA to determine broad use regimes over the whole reef. Those parts of the world heritage area outside the marine park are covered by plans of the Queensland DEH. The Authority's zoning plans have the status of subordinate legislation, and are reviewed every 5-7 years. Two lower level planning processes fine tune the zoning plans and pay particular attention to heavily used or threatened sites; several such plans are being prepared. However, as the Authority commented in its submission, 'as use pressures increase, the zoning and management planning framework as currently developed is not meeting changing needs'. The Authority is therefore reviewing this framework and, although it does not anticipate a significant change to statutory planning, the development of non-statutory plans and policy will alter. [100]

4.68 When the Reef was nominated for listing in 1981, the current management processes of the Park were seen as being sympathetic to, and aligned with, attaining world heritage goals and were carried across as the management arrangements for the world heritage area. More recently, the management experiences of the Authority have brought it to the recognition that these arrangements do not overtly address the values of the area, and a better articulation between values and management arrangements is needed. [101] The Authority has therefore sought to define more precisely the values of the Reef, and has recently received a consultants' report that details the Reef's values and uses them as the basis for proposing a series of management options. [102] Furthermore, with the amendment to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act in 1995, management plans must now focus on, among other matters, the protection of heritage values. [103]

4.69 Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks are both currently managed under their third plans which came into force in 1992 and will run until December 1996 and December 1997 respectively. [104] The plans for these two parks are prepared under the National Parks and Wildlife Service Act 1975 for their management as national parks and the homes of their traditional owners. The world heritage status of these two areas receives no special emphasis.

4.70 Only draft management plans exist for several world heritage areas. The Wet Tropics draft plan was released for public comment in October 1995, and area specific plans are being prepared. [105] The Willandra Lakes draft management plan was also released for public comment in October 1995 and was endorsed by the New South Wales and Commonwealth Governments in January 1996. [106] The world heritage values of both these areas are central to the plans, which will eventually become statutory instruments under State legislation. DEST commented to the Committee that the Willandra Lakes draft management plan:

4.71 Since its listing in 1991, the Shark Bay world heritage area has been managed in accordance with a preexisting regional plan, which is discussed further below. More recently, several plans for specific parts of the Shark Bay world heritage area have been released for public comment, others are being prepared, and a strategic plan for the whole area contemplated. It is expected that these plans will be considered and approved by the Ministerial Council. [108] With respect to Lord Howe Island, draft plans are being prepared for the proposed marine reserve and for the whole world heritage area. The existing plan for the entire island was reviewed in 1994 and now refers to world heritage matters, while that for the island's Permanent Preserve was revised in 1995. [109]

4.72 The management plans of the different sections of CERRA vary from one to another, between areas that are designated national parks and those that have other forms of conservation tenure. Management plans are at various stages of completion for most components of the property, with the most recent incorporating reference to world heritage protection. [110] Commenting on the New South Wales parcels of forest, Mr Howard, the Executive Director (Operations) of the New South Wales NPWS said:

Mr Dutton from Southern Cross University made a similar point:

A committee composed of New South Wales and Queensland agencies is now preparing a strategic overview of CERRA which will help to produce a coordinated and complementary approach to management throughout the area and lead eventually to a strategic plan.

4.73 With respect to the most recently listed world heritage property, the Fossil Mammal Sites, the Riversleigh site is covered by a draft management plan for Lawn Hill National Park, which refers to the area's world heritage values; work continues on this plan. The Naracoorte Caves, by contrast, had a management plan, at the time of the Fossil Mammal Sites' listing. Minor changes to the plans will be needed to acknowledge the links between the two sites.

Regional and strategic plans

4.74 The Committee notes that in some of the larger regions of which world heritage areas are part, regional plans exist that integrate these areas with the uses of the surrounding land. After Shark Bay was nominated to the World Heritage List, for example, it was managed in accordance with the 1988 Shark Bay Region Plan, which includes strategies for land use, community and economic development, and conservation of the natural environment. This plan is now in the process of being revised. [113] In the case of Willandra Lakes, it is proposed that the management plan be incorporated into a regional environmental plan prepared under the provisions of the New South Wales Environmental and Planning Assessment Act. With respect to Uluru-Kata Tjuta, ANCA refers to its participation in a regional planning group. [114]

4.75 In addition, strategic plans are being, or have been, developed for some world heritage areas. In its submission to the inquiry, the Western Australian Government explained that the various management plans for the Shark Bay world heritage area:

In addition, the strategic plan would 'make comments where appropriate on influences that might come from outside the World Heritage property into the property itself'. [116]

4.76 In the context of seeking to manage the impact on the Great Barrier Reef of activities which occur outside the world heritage area, the GBRMPA coordinated the production of a 25 year strategic plan for the world heritage area by an independent consultant. [117] The Authority explained in its submission to the inquiry that:

The Plan provides 'a shared vision of how the marine park will be managed into the future', [119] but its implementation is reported to have been delayed. [120]

Comments on progress with planning

4.77 The Committee acknowledges that progress is being made in the drafting and revision of management plans. It notes that GBRMPA was awarded the UNESCO Einstein Medal for the quality of its planning and management processes. [121] Some witnesses to the inquiry shared this view of the high standards of planning exhibited by at least some of Australia's world heritage areas. For example, Mr Ian Dutton commented on the widely acclaimed and well documented management plans of world heritage areas such as Kakadu and the Great Barrier Reef. He also observed that other areas, like the Wet Tropics, Fraser Island and the Tasmanian Wilderness, had been slow in starting but 'are now making good progress in plan development'. [122]

4.78 However, many witnesses, including Mr Dutton, drew the Committee's attention to grossly inadequate planning and very slow progress in establishing management plans in some world heritage areas. The most noteworthy of these is the Willandra Lakes Region, listed in 1981 but only now, 15 years later, reaching the stage of having its management plan released. Concern was also registered about the Riversleigh Fossil Mammal Site, as well as Shark Bay and the Wet Tropics where the production of plans since the listing of these properties in 1991 and 1988 respectively has been tardy.

4.79 Much evidence was provided to the Committee about the ill effects of failing to have management plans in place at the time when world heritage areas are listed, or shortly afterwards. This is especially true when the listed areas attract, or are perceived as being likely to require, quite different management arrangements than hitherto. For example, grazing, cropping, mining and forestry have ceased with the listing of some areas as world heritage, and organisations representing these groups figured prominently among those critical of the lack of planning. [123]

4.80 Without plans, both the managers and users of world heritage areas lack guidance about what activities and developments are appropriate or permitted. The MCA referred to 'confusion and uncertainty amongst land users and investors about future land use', and the NFF to 'a lot of confusion about appropriate management regimes'. [124] Partly as a result of this uncertainty and confusion, those dependent on the resources of world heritage areas for their livelihood have experienced loss of income and reduced values for their investments in these areas. For example, a 1994 assessment of the economic impact of listing on landholders in the Willandra Lakes area estimated that they had lost $8.39 million since 1981. [125]

4.81 As the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) pointed out, the ideal situation is to have 'a management regime where everyone knows where they stand'. [126] In such circumstances, any negative effects of listing on local stakeholders will be clear and the means of minimising them identified. Furthermore, support by local communities for the concept of world heritage and the ongoing management of the areas is likely to be much greater. [127]

4.82 In the face of the considerable concern about some aspects of world heritage management, a group of peak industry bodies has called for an emphasis on having management plans in place at the time a property is nominated. [128] At a public hearing with the Committee, Dr David Kay, the then Assistant Secretary of DEST's World Heritage and Biodiversity Branch, commented that 'ideally, we would wish all nominations went forward with a plan of management as part of the nomination', although 'it may be a little different for some of the cultural properties'. [129] He continued:

Furthermore, the then Minister had 'made it clear that he would expect management plans to be agreed on and in place prior to nomination'. [131] However, the Operational Guidelines do not require plans to be finalised before listing, only that an indication be given about when the plan will be ready and how the management of the world heritage area will be guided until then. [132]

4.83 The Committee acknowledges that both the then Minister and DEST had come to realise the importance of having management plans agreed prior to the nomination of a property for listing. The Committee endorses their intention that this should happen with any future nominations, and notes that management plans were in place for the sub-antarctic islands nominated for listing in July 1996. The Committee recommends that:

4.84 There remains the task of finalising management plans for those areas that were nominated without them or without ones that adequately reflect the world heritage status of the areas. As the 1995 meeting of parties interested in world heritage management resolved in the Richmond Communique, a principle that should guide management planning is that 'management plans for each world heritage area must be developed and implemented as a high priority'. [133] The ACF suggested that these plans should be produced within three years. [134]

4.85 The Committee notes that DEST is always involved in the preparation of world heritage area management plans, although the extent of its involvement differs from one area to another. Dr Kay told the Committee that:

It is therefore appropriate that DEST should take the initiative to ensure that management plans are finalised as soon as possible. The Committee recommends that:

Ingredients for effective management planning

4.86 As some of the conservation organisations pointed out, the world heritage values of an area are the basis on which the management plan for that area should be built. [136] Advice to DEST also emphasised this point; Professors Boer and Fowler commented that the management plans for Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta should 'spell out much more explicitly ANCA's role in managing the parks for World Heritage values'. [137] However, as the Committee's examination of world heritage area plans showed, not all of them have yet been revised to reflect the importance of the areas' world heritage values. DEST acknowledged this fact and reported that:

The Committee considers that this is an important aspect of world heritage management planning and recommends that:

In a later section of this chapter, the Committee discusses the difficulties that may arise in defining world heritage values.

4.87 In examining the plans in place for world heritage management, the Committee noted that a number of regional and strategic plans have been developed. These plans are a means by which world heritage areas can be given 'a function in the life of the community' and integrated into 'comprehensive planning programmes', as Article 5(a) of the Convention requires. [139] Such plans, whether statutory or reflecting a partnership of interested stakeholders, represent one approach to controlling impacts on world heritage areas from beyond their boundaries. Furthermore, as the NQCC commented, 'World Heritage is best managed through a hierarchy of planning processes starting with an overall regional planning process that places a particular property within its local environmental and social context'. [140] The Committee considers that these planning initiatives are significant in the protection of world heritage values and, along with other approaches to managing outside impacts, should be pursued. It notes that, in general, the management and planning of protected areas in Australia is excluded from regional planning processes, [141] and so recommends that:

4.88 All the plans relating to the management of world heritage areas and the regions of which they are part must be regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain appropriate to existing circumstances. [142] As the GBRMPA commented to the Committee:

4.89 Furthermore, ongoing changes to natural systems can be expected to occur, leading a meeting sponsored by the ACIUCN to expound the following principle for world heritage management: 'management planning of natural heritage in world heritage properties should incorporate adaptive management principles to give flexibility to provide for dynamic change in natural systems'. [144] The Committee notes that the plans of most world heritage areas are regularly reviewed but, to ensure that all plans are reviewed, it recommends that:

4.90 A number of additional elements for effective management planning were identified at the Committee's workshop on world heritage management. They include matters that are covered in more detail in other chapters of the report, namely:

Of these points, one of the most significant is consultation. Without it, the likelihood of conflict is greatly increased; with it, all stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide input and gain understanding of world heritage issues and a sense of ownership of the resultant plans. The Committee recommends that:

World heritage values

Defining values

4.91 World heritage areas contain outstanding, universal values of a natural or cultural kind, which are the basis for which these areas should be managed. UNESCO's Operational Guidelines provide a framework within which these values can be assessed. In addition, as Mr David Buckingham pointed out, on the basis of his experience both as a past officer of DEST and in his then position as the MCA's Executive Director:

4.92 The GBRMPA reported that it found the detailed definition of world heritage values rather more difficult. Mr Colin Trinder of the Authority's Canberra Office told the Committee that:

The Acting Executive Officer of the Authority, Ms Prue Keen, added:

For example, how should the 'sense of place of the reef' for which visitors come to the Marine Park be defined, and what does the 'concept of wilderness, remoteness' encompass? [148]

4.93 As the GBRMPA attempts to develop responses to the need to minimise the increasing pressures on the Reef from users, it has turned to the values of the Reef described in the nomination document as the basis for planning. It found that these values 'were given very broadly and the challenge for us now is to take those and to understand those more explicitly, in more detail'. [149] As Mr Valentine of James Cook University pointed out, the documentation that accompanied early nominations to the World Heritage List, such as the Great Barrier Reef, was limited. However, even with more recent, better documented nominations:

4.94 Some of the values for which world heritage properties are listed are more difficult to pin down than others. The aesthetic qualities of a landscape, for example, are elusive of definition, which is perhaps the reason why they appear to have been neglected. Several witnesses to the inquiry referred to the need to include them among an area's values. Mr Haigh, for example, pointed out that aesthetics are a very important factor in the management of world heritage areas. Article 2 of the Convention makes clear that both science and aesthetics are important considerations but, he claimed, the latter have been 'largely disregarded by the managers of World Heritage areas'. [151] Mr Revell, writing from Western Australia, also stated that very little attention had been given to values such as the scenic beauty or the visual quality of landscapes in world heritage areas in planning for their management. [152] The NQCC called for the management planning for world heritage areas to 'include and consider the aesthetics and natural beauty of a property', and a review of environmental impact assessment in world heritage areas recommended that aesthetic impacts should be taken into account when development proposals are being considered. [153]

4.95 A recent comprehensive assessment of the Great Barrier Reef's values found that:

The assessment suggested that the methodologies and processes for documenting aesthetic values should be investigated and aesthetic values incorporated into world heritage management and planning.

4.96 The GBRMPA has approached the problem of defining the values which it is charged to protect by engaging consultants 'to further clarify the world heritage values of the GBR World Heritage Property'. This consultancy will be followed by another to determine whether current management processes are sufficient to meet world heritage obligations. [155] The type of difficulty with which the GBRMPA has been grappling is exemplified by an issue raised during the then Commonwealth Minister's intervention to stop a development at Port Hinchinbrook:

4.97 Some doubt has been expressed about the extent to which management should be based on specific values, rather than focusing on the preservation of the whole area. For example, the NQCC stated that:

Other witnesses to the inquiry also stressed the importance of whole areas rather than their component parts. [158]

4.98 One of the principles of the Richmond Communique is that 'an holistic and ecosystems approach to management should be adopted'. [159] This approach is reflected in the Operational Guidelines' requirement that the criterion of integrity be met if a property is to be listed as world heritage. The Guidelines state that sites nominated for listing should:

To rely on preserving specific values alone, rather than on whole ecosystems, is seen as a flawed process because the available knowledge about any natural area and the significance of its parts is never complete. This situation is acknowledged in the uncertainty principle espoused in the Interim Australian Natural Heritage Charter, which states that:

Updating values

4.99 Quite apart from the need to have the world heritage values of an area more explicitly defined, there is also a need to regularly update them in response to naturally occurring changes, new knowledge about the local area and the operation of ecosystems and cultures, and changes in the concept of world heritage and the criteria for listing. For example, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta world heritage area was initially listed for its natural outstanding, universal values, and was later renominated for its values as a cultural landscape as well. There may well be a case for other of the world heritage areas to be similarly renominated. As Mr Valentine commented with respect to the Great Barrier Reef, since 1981 when it was listed:

In addition, Aboriginal culture in the Wet Tropics world heritage area should receive greater recognition, according to the NQCC. [163]

4.100 In his submission to the inquiry, Dr Dermot Smyth called for a strategic review of Aboriginal cultural values in all existing and proposed world heritage areas, using the new cultural criteria for world heritage listing to assess the adequacy of current recognition of Aboriginal interests. He commented that, at the time when several of Australia's world heritage areas were listed, restricted criteria for cultural values were in use and Australian authorities failed to appreciate the nature and extent of Aboriginal peoples' connections with the land. The lack of recognition of Aboriginal interests in listing was reflected in subsequent management arrangements and, although the situation has improved recently, [164] Dr Smyth suggested that there is an urgent need for a review of the situation, with the Commonwealth playing a lead role. [165] The involvement of indigenous people is also a requirement of the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which Australia is a signatory, and Agenda 21, the international program for the sustained and responsible development of the planet.

4.101 DEST acknowledged that the criteria under which Australia's world heritage properties were listed have evolved over the years such that 'we now have properties within Australia that are listed against criteria which no longer appear in that particular phraseology in the Convention'. DEST indicated that, in the course of monitoring the state of conservation of world heritage properties every five years, as described in Chapter 5, it would also review the values of those properties. These reviews would 'fall slightly short of a total renomination' but would be significant. [166] Such reviews would, of course, depend on adequate supporting information being available and, even with recent nominations, 'there is still scope to improve the database of their WH values'. [167] Another useful tool in this respect is a recently developed approach to identifying and assessing the level of values of a property that relies on testing the attributes of the place against themes of outstanding, universal value. While this approach was originally developed for cultural properties, it is now being used in assessing natural areas. [168]

4.102 The Committee commends DEST's approach in reviewing and updating world heritage values, and notes the outcome of the GBRMPA's work of defining more precisely the Reef's world heritage values. In addition to detailing the attributes of the Reef that relate to the current criteria for world heritage listing, the consultants who undertook this work for the GBRMPA identified two overriding values for the Reef that had not been formally emphasised before. The first is the Reef's scale, with which is associated an enormous diversity of habitats, and the second is its location within Australia's jurisdiction which protects it well by comparison with that afforded to many other tropical reef systems. Furthermore, the GBRMPA's initiative in updating its values appears to be one of the first of its kind to be carried out for any of the world's world heritage areas. As such, the GBRMPA has broken ground where others are likely to follow. [169]

4.103 The Committee considers that DEST should support managing agencies in their efforts to refine their understanding of the values that they are bound to protect, and recommends that:

Related issues: boundaries and non-indigenous historical remains

4.104 With the emphasis on natural and indigenous cultural values in Australia's world heritage areas, concerns have been expressed that the importance of the record in the landscape of European exploitation of the land has been downgraded. The Australian Council of National Trusts claimed that in the past:

The Australian Council of National Trusts and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) both wanted to see records of the European use of land in world heritage areas maintained and displayed. [171] The Richmond Communique acknowledged that, while the primary objective of management planning in world heritage areas must be to protect world heritage values, the implications for management of other natural and cultural values must be recognised. [172] The Committee supports this approach and, in this connection, notes the displays being developed at the Peron Homestead in the Shark Bay world heritage area.

4.105 The boundaries of some world heritage areas have appeared in hindsight to have been selected at the time of listing without a well-supportable rationale in terms of their being needed to protect world heritage values. For example, it was suggested to the Committee that the boundaries of the Lord Howe Island world heritage area were defined such that 'when the nomination went up they were easily discernible on a map base'. [173] The original boundaries of the Willandra Lakes world heritage area followed cadastral boundaries, [174] that of Kakadu Stage 3 was determined by land tenure considerations, [175] and in the case of the boundaries for the Shark Bay world heritage area:

4.106 Work has progressed on some of these matters. Precise boundaries are being negotiated for Shark Bay, but formal agreement awaits the signing of an agreement by the Commonwealth and State Governments. In addition, the original boundaries at Willandra have been revised and now follow the edges of the lake system. This change was made after the boundaries were examined by that property's Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee, and a recommendation to reduce the area of the property by about 30% was forwarded to the World Heritage Committee and accepted by it in December 1995.

4.107 The Committee notes the NFF's view that world heritage areas should be 'site specific' because:

Revising world heritage area boundaries along these lines was suggested for the Great Barrier Reef by Mr Haigh. He proposed to the Committee that world heritage status should apply only to the most significant parts of the area. [178] However, the GBRMPA did not agree that its area should be reduced in this way.

The GBRMPA is considering the possibility of incorporating into the Marine Park as much as possible of the area that is at present outside it but inside the world heritage area, within constitutional limitations relating to Queensland State Government property. [180]

4.108 The Committee's view is that all future nominations should go forward with well-defined boundaries with solidly based relevance to world heritage protection. Furthermore, when the world heritage values of a property are being reviewed or renomination of an area considered, the appropriateness of the boundaries of the area should be examined. The Committee recommends that:

Protecting values

4.109 Preventable impacts on world heritage areas come from a variety of sources, most of them the result of people's activities. The Richmond Communique issued at the end of the ACIUCN's workshop stated that:

Protection from impacts within

4.110 Visitation by tourists impact on all world heritage areas to a greater or lesser extent. Grazing, cropping, hunting, fishing, mining, and defence-related activities occur in some world heritage areas, and some world heritage areas act as water catchments. Debate surrounds all the uses to which world heritage areas are put: should these uses be allowed and, if so, to what extent? Those engaged in these activities claim that the activities can be carried out without prejudicing the conservation and preservation of their surroundings. These activities should therefore be permitted, provided that they do not damage the world heritage values of the areas. The NFF, for example:

4.111 For his part, Mr Buckingham then of the MCA stated that:

He added that:

This is particularly the case with the non-intrusive exploration techniques and the capacity to rehabilitate mined sites that are now available. Other mining organisations also supported the multiple use of world heritage areas. [185]

4.112 The Chamber of Mines, Metals and Extractive Industries (NSW) referred to 'a perception in government and the general public that World Heritage listing and multiple land use are incompatible concepts'. [186] S Kidman & Co shared this view. [187] However, this was not borne out by the statements of Government agencies to the Committee. DEST stated that:

The GBRMPA confirmed that multiple use is appropriate in the Reef world heritage area. [189]

4.113 In their comments to the Committee, conservation organisations indicated that they were generally unimpressed by the level of use permitted in world heritage areas. The CCWA, for example, considered that 'in Shark Bay there are significant areas being used for activities that are incompatible with the maintenance of World Heritage values'. [190] The NQCC and CAFNEC were critical of the Commonwealth's willingness to allow the construction of Skyrail in the Wet Tropics world heritage area. [191] The World Wide Fund for Nature Australia referred to the 'failure to rule out incompatible activities, such as mining and the expansion of cropping' in the Willandra Lakes Region. [192]

4.114 While certain activities have been prohibited in world heritage areas, as MCA for example pointed out, [193] tourism has generally been allowed with relatively minor restrictions only. Tourism, of course, is a means by which world heritage can be presented to the public, in keeping with the obligations imposed by the Convention. [194] Yet, the greatest threat to world heritage sites around the world in the developed countries is said to come from tourism, both small and large scale. [195] The Chief Executive Officer of ANCA provided an example of this point:

Other witnesses to the inquiry also drew the Committee's attention to the damage to the environment that visitors can cause. [197]

4.115 There is widespread appreciation in the tourist industry of the facts that tourism can damage the environment, and that such damage must be avoided if the industry is to remain viable. As the Tourism Council Australia observed, 'the industry generally understands the relationship or the nexus between sustainable tourism and also ecologically sustainable development'. [198] ANCA pointed to 'the physical degradation of sites by large numbers of visitors' as the most obvious impact, and listed among other impacts:

Limiting the damage that visitors cause therefore has high priority. This is particularly the case in places where visitor numbers are escalating rapidly, as in the Wet Tropics where visitor numbers have increased 54% in the last three years.

4.116 Limiting the impact of tourists on world heritage areas can be achieved by determining the carrying capacities of the different areas and designing facilities and infrastructure that minimise impacts. [200] In other words, a proactive approach to the management of tourism is required. During a public hearing with the Committee, Professor Atherton elaborated on this point:

4.117 ANCA has adopted the type of approach advocated by Professor Atherton and is moving to develop a 10-year visitor management strategy for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta world heritage area that will have regard to, among other things:

However, it is not always easy to manage tourist impacts as the GBRMPA observed on the basis of its experience with limiting tourist numbers through its zone and management plans and controls on mooring and anchoring:

4.118 CAFNEC has taken an interesting approach to dealing with impacts on world heritage areas . It rejected the notion of minimising impacts on world heritage areas as incompatible with protecting world heritage values. The Centre stated that 'our concept is that there should never be any less than there is now of the natural area in a World Heritage site', and suggested a form of payback be established. Thus for example, if tourist operators wished to establish a walking trail which would damage or modify a section of a world heritage area, they should compensate for this by funding the rehabilitation of another area or adding to the existing world heritage area. CAFNEC reported that, although no such arrangements have been finalised yet, the local tourist industry 'seem quite comfortable with the idea'. [204]

4.119 Fishing is another activity which has been little limited in world heritage areas, a fact that Mr Peter Valentine identified as anomalous with respect to the Great Barrier Reef:

Witnesses to the inquiry also commented on the reluctance of politicians nationally to address the possible threat to the conservation of fish stocks posed by recreational fishing. [206]

4.120 The control of fishing in Shark Bay and around Lord Howe Island is the responsibility of the respective State fisheries departments. Commercial fishing in the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area is controlled by the Queensland Fish Management Authority, while recreational fishing falls within the jurisdiction of the GBRMPA. There is thus more than one agency involved in managing different parts of these world heritage areas, and the potential for differing approaches to the management of world heritage values. As Mr Howard of the New South Wales NPWS pointed out, many of the issues raised by this sort of situation could be resolved with a plan of management for the whole world heritage area. [207]

4.121 Another activity in the three world heritage areas that contain large marine areas is shipping. Shipping is of particular significance in the Great Barrier Reef Region, and here the Committee notes that in 1995 the Commonwealth Government announced measures to improve the accuracy of the navigational aids available to ships in the area and to reduce the number of ships travelling between the Reef and mainland Australia. The announcement also referred to measures to reduce collisions between small boats and to improve response capabilities to oil spills. [208]

4.122 Concerns have also been raised about the effect on the conservation of world heritage areas of hunting, gathering and fishing by indigenous people as they exercise their traditional rights. The Committee notes that, in general, their approach to exploiting the resources of their lands is to do so in a sustainable manner. [209] The activities of indigenous peoples should therefore be no more destructive than some other uses allowed in world heritage areas, and may be less damaging. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders' approach to harvesting the environment was grounded traditionally in their systems of beliefs and maintained by the moral force of these beliefs. [210] With changes in indigenous societies and the use of new hunting technologies some of the constraints that operated previously may have broken down. There is, however, no firm evidence that this has resulted in unsustainable practices. [211]

4.123 Managing the impact of indigenous harvesting activities nowadays depends on understanding the dynamics of target species and, where these are threatened, reaching agreement with the local communities to limit or stop harvesting. In some cases, as with hunting dugong in the Mackay region of the Great Barrier Reef, the issuing of hunting permits has been handed over by the GBRMPA to a Council of Elders. [212] The Committee considers that the guiding principle in cases where harvesting threatens the sustainability of species is that the emphasis must be on protecting threatened species rather than permitting the continuation of traditional practices.

4.124 A further source of impacts in some areas stems from previous and current settlement and use of the area by Europeans. In the Wet Tropics world heritage area, for example, erosion from old forestry roads, damage by feral pigs, and the spread of weeds are major problems. Weeds are also a major problem on Lord Howe Island.

Conclusion

4.125 The Committee notes that, unlike many world heritage areas in developed countries overseas, some segments of most of Australia's world heritage areas did not have the status of a national park before they were listed as world heritage areas. These segments frequently carried with them into the world heritage areas their former uses. Rather than being 'national parks' within the IUCN's classification of protected areas, they are 'Managed Resource Protected Areas'. [213] The Committee considers that multiple use of world heritage areas is reasonable, particularly in very large world heritage areas, provided that all activities are 'subject to the overriding requirement to maintain world heritage values', as specified in the Richmond Communique. [214] The Committee notes the view of ANCA's Chief Executive when he said that:

Not only should the impacts of activities be assessed in this way, but the approach to monitoring and controlling them should be proactive. It is important that such an approach be well-founded, based on a good inventory of each area, on the regular and consistent monitoring of the health of each area's world heritage values, as discussed in Chapter 5, and on research into the characteristics of different kinds of impacts and methods of minimising them. The research needs for the management of world heritage areas is covered in a later section of this chapter.

Protection from impacts outside the world heritage area

4.126 According to the IUCN, the years ahead will see the Australian authorities responsible for world heritage protection continuing to face the challenge of dealing with developments in areas adjacent to world heritage areas. [216] Impacts from adjacent areas range from those on the boundaries to those that originate far afield. A dramatic illustration of the latter situation is seen in the case of the Great Barrier Reef where sediment in runoff from the mainland smothers reef organisms and clouds the waters, thereby reducing the amount of light penetrating through the water. Increased nutrient levels to Reef waters also result from terrestrial land use and settlement. Coastal development and runoff are, in fact, greater threats to the Reef than tourism. [217]

4.127 The existing regional and strategic plans have already been referred to as a means of integrating world heritage areas with the activities of surrounding areas. They were advocated by several witnesses to the inquiry as an appropriate approach to reducing impacts within world heritage areas. [218] Professor Atherton, for example, advocated the coordination of planning and management of tourism within a region with the planning and management of tourism in world heritage areas. [219] Through regional planning, it may be possible to attract tourists away from the most heavily used world heritage sites to areas outside that share some of the same values. Several well-known places, such as some parts of the Daintree and Fraser Island, are not only heavily used but also visited to the exclusion of significant alternative destinations. [220] The Tasmanian Government has also grappled with this problem. [221]

4.128 The Operating Guidelines provide guidance on managing threats to world heritage values from activities and developments close to world heritage areas. They specify that:

ANCA agreed that 'any national park that is not buffered adequately by appropriately sensitive use of the surrounding landscape is a waste of investment by any community'. It pointed out, however, that the purpose served by a buffer zone could be achieved in either of two ways:

4.129 The first of these two options is the approach that has been taken in Australia. As DEST's Dr Kay told the Committee:

The Committee notes that:

Acting Director of the GBRMPA explained to the Committee that the Authority makes use of two buffer zones, one within the GBRMPA's boundary where the use of the zone is managed under the GBRMPA Act and a second one:

4.130 One of the principles from the Richmond Communique states that:

However, in the circumstance of buffers for world heritage value protection being included within world heritage area boundaries, it is generally the case that no special measures appear necessary in managing adjacent areas.

4.131 According to Mr Keiran McNamara, Director of Nature Conservation with the Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management:

4.132 The view that Australia's world heritage areas are adequately buffered within their boundaries or by agreements with neighbours was challenged by a number of conservation groups. CAFNEC, commenting on the absence of formal buffer zones for the Wet Tropics world heritage area, pointed out that 'rather than reflecting the boundary of the area with outstanding universal value, plus a buffer, the boundaries have tended to be the area of outstanding universal value on Crown land'. CAFNEC believed that this situation resulted from 'a reluctance to develop management approaches to private lands', and suggested that this is not a workable long-term solution, especially when much of the Crown land may fall under native title and hence become a form of private property. [231]

4.133 However, attempts are being made to introduce management practices on surrounding lands that are sympathetic with those of the world heritage areas. The GBRMPA referred to working in 'a regime of partnerships with other agencies, particularly the Queensland Government'. [232] In the Wet Tropics, cooperative management arrangements with the neighbours of the world heritage area are provided for by Queensland's Wet Tropics World Heritage Protection and Management Act 1993. The Act allows the WTMA to enter into formal contractual agreements with landholders and others to facilitate or augment management of the world heritage area. Although no agreements have been finalised, a number are under negotiation. As the Authority pointed out in its submission to the inquiry:

The WTMA's draft management plan refers to minimising negative impacts (both the area's impact on neighbours and the neighbours' impact on the area) and promoting a good neighbour policy through cooperative work on shared concerns such as control of feral pigs and fire management. [234] A similar approach has been adopted by the New South Wales NPWS which told the Committee that:

4.134 The Tasmanian Conservation Trust, the Wilderness Society (Tasmania) and the NQCC observed that there was also some form of recognition of the need for buffer zones on the part of the Commonwealth Government, but it was not acted on, at least not consistently. The two Tasmanian groups asserted that:

The NQCC claimed in its March 1995 submission that, when it stopped the Port Hinchinbrook development, the previous Government was implicitly recognising that world heritage values may need to be buffered in some cases:

The NQCC recommended that appropriate buffer zones be established around world heritage areas, and CAFNEC suggested that legislation was needed to regulate activities outside world heritage areas. [238]

4.135 The Committee recognises, however, that there is considerable antagonism in some sections of the community to buffer zones. Mr Robert Hadler, Deputy Director of the NFF, told the Committee that:

The New South Wales NPWS also acknowledged the existence of these concerns; it indicated that such concerns had 'always been an issue that has been raised with us, that you actually end up creating buffer zones on surrounding land which become de facto national parks'. [240]

Conclusion

4.136 The Committee has already indicated its support for strategic and regional planning earlier in this chapter with a recommendation that it be pursued further where useful. With respect to the need for buffer zones for Australia's world heritage properties, the Committee notes DEST's claim that these areas were deemed large enough at the time of nomination to protect the world heritage values concerned. The Committee also acknowledges that they were accepted as such by the World Heritage Committee. Nevertheless, the Committee observes that, as time passes, it may become evident that some areas are not large enough to fully protect the properties' values and the establishment of buffer zones outside the boundaries of the world heritage properties may then need to be considered. It argues that this situation may already be evident in the world heritage areas composed of small, fragmented parcels of land. The Committee considers that, with the monitoring arrangements which are discussed further in Chapter 5, any deterioration in, or potential threat to, the condition of world heritage values will be noticed. Once spotted, the threats and the causes of any deterioration, which might include inadequate buffering of the areas, can be examined and solutions sought. Furthermore, the Committee's recommendation that world heritage area boundaries be one of the matters considered when world heritage areas are reviewed also addresses this concern. Whenever world heritage areas are reviewed, the Committee expects that the focus of protection will not be on values alone, but take whole ecosystems into account.

Research needs

4.137 Protecting world heritage values depends on effective management of world heritage areas which in turn depends, among other factors, on research. Article 5 of the World Heritage Convention calls on States Parties 'to develop scientific and technical studies and research and to work out such operating methods as will make the State capable of counteracting the dangers that threaten its cultural or natural heritage'. Participants at the Committee's workshop also pointed out to the Committee that research is an integral and very important element of monitoring world heritage protection. As an example, the Tasmanian Government, in its submission to the inquiry, listed the potential threats to the Wilderness Area that were mentioned in the 1988 nomination document for the area:

The Tasmanian Government pointed out that 'all of the above require research'. [241]

4.138 The Committee notes that research relevant to world heritage management is being carried out in a number of areas, funded by both industry and government. [242] In Queensland, for example, research is being done by the Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management. Furthermore, the Cooperative Research Centre for Ecologically Sustainable Development of the Great Barrier Reef is carrying out research that has a particular emphasis on tourism and recreational fishing, and improving the scientific basis for managing the Reef and regulating economic activities. It is also investigating the effects of prawn trawling. [243] The Western Australian Fisheries Department is engaged in fisheries research that includes the Shark Bay area, and among the further research identified as needed there is the effect of fishing on world heritage values. [244] In addition, ANCA reported that it 'conducts and commissions a modest level of park management oriented research' which contributes to managing pressures on heritage values. [245]

4.139 Under the National Ecotourism Program administered by the Department of Industry, Science and Tourism, funds have been provided for baseline studies and monitoring of tourist impacts in several world heritage areas, and a study of ecological sanitation strategies has been supported. [246] In addition, the Department's Sites of National Tourism Significance Program is focused on natural areas under pressure or emerging pressures from tourists. [247]

4.140 In the light of this discussion about impacts from fishing and visitors, the Committee views them as a particularly important areas for research and recommends that:

4.141 With respect to impacts from visitors to world heritage areas, considerable concerns have been expressed in relation to the Great Barrier Reef. While some research is being carried out, it appears to the Committee that it should be pursued on a larger scale. It notes Mr Valentine's comments that:

In relation to the world heritage area, he argued for 'an urgent review of the entire coastal component of the GBRWHA to identify key conservation sites and appropriate development areas'. The Committee concurs with Mr Valentine's views and recommends that:

Standards for management

4.142 High standards of management are expected for world heritage areas. As the NQCC put it, 'it follows from the universal value of these properties that the standard of management must be the highest attainable within the land'. [249] CAFNEC stated that 'the standard for protecting all World Heritage sites should be very high'. [250]

4.143 As discussed earlier, world heritage areas in Australia, or at least the significant parts of them, have national park status and are managed as such. This approach is similar to that favoured by the ACF. Its policy for world heritage areas states that:

The New South Wales NPWS reported, however, that although there is nothing in the World Heritage Convention that specifies the level of management required for world heritage areas, there appears to be an expectation, both domestically and internationally, that they will be managed to a higher standard than other areas. [252] The ACIUCN agreed, stating that management to the level of that of a State national park would be the minimum acceptable. [253] The NQCC took the view that managing world heritage areas to national park standards would be sufficient in an ideal world. The world, however, is less than ideal:

4.144 The NQCC acknowledged that it is difficult for the Commonwealth 'to determine what standard of management is appropriate for the protection of our World Heritage properties'. As the Director of Queensland's NPWS observed:

Mr McNamara, the Director of Nature Conservation in Western Australia, expanded on the difficulties facing management authorities when he pointed out that:

4.145 The Committee agrees that the highest standards of management should be applied to world heritage areas. The category of national park is the highest in the IUCN's classification of protected areas that allows widespread visitation. Only Category I, which includes scientific or strict nature reserves and wilderness areas, has a higher classification. The purpose of Category I reserves is to disturb nature and natural processes as little as possible by limiting access to these sites; this objective is at odds with the requirements of the World Heritage Convention. The Committee therefore considers that the management of world heritage areas to a similar standard to a national park is appropriate.

4.146 A significant issue in the management of world heritage areas that was raised with the Committee is to what extent managers should attempt to preserve an ecosystem at one point in time, as opposed to allowing it to change while still protecting world heritage values. This appears to be an unresolved issue that requires more understanding and debate to establish appropriate approaches. Points raised in this context by the participants at the Committee's workshop included the re-introduction of traditional Aboriginal burning practices at Kakadu and Uluru and the question of restoring areas modified by European use.

Permitting multiple use of world heritage areas and adjacent areas

4.147 The extent to which developments or activities should proceed in world heritage areas is a controversial topic. This is particularly true of those areas where multiple use of certain parts of the area is allowed. In its submission to the inquiry, the IUCN observed that:

4.148 Many witnesses to the inquiry commented on these matters. The conservationists called for a more careful assessment of the likely impact of proposed activities than is carried out at present. They believed that decisions should be based on:

Generally speaking, the principles of ecologically sustainable development should be applied to the management of world heritage areas and, as Professors Boer and Fowler pointed out, they require further development to reflect the duties of protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations. [260]

4.149 The precautionary principle, as defined in the IGAE, may be applied in the context of administering the World Heritage Properties Conservation Act. [261] Mr Valentine referred to the precautionary principle, when he was acting as an adviser in 1994 when the then Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories was considering intervening to stop developments in the Hinchinbrook Channel under the World Heritage Properties Conservation Act. [262] Furthermore, amendments to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act made in 1995 require management plans to be drawn up with regard to the precautionary principle.

4.150 The IUCN commented that the principle had been used wisely in South West Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef. [263] The conservationists, however, would like to see the precautionary principle used to a greater extent. Some of them have also suggested that developments not needed for bone fide management purposes should not be approved if there is no management plan in place. When such developments have been allowed in these circumstances in the past, considerable controversy has erupted. [264]

4.151 With respect to the need to take a more holistic approach to assessing impacts on world heritage areas, the NQCC pointed to:

Other witnesses also believed that the developments and activities that are being permitted in some world heritage areas are having a cumulative, negative impact on world heritage areas. [266] One of the principles for management planning contained in the Richmond Communique calls for the use of 'a mechanism to address the effect of cumulative impacts'; this mechanism should include taking care 'not to set precedents that, further in time, will create conflicts or difficulties in effective management decision making or action'. [267] Professors Boer and Fowler agreed that cumulative impacts should be considered when developments are being assessed, and recommended as much. [268]

4.152 The Committee's view is that the precautionary principle, when reasonably interpreted, should be employed whenever permits for developments and activities are being considered. In addition, a holistic approach should be taken in assessing the likely impact of developments and activities; in particular, it should have regard to the likelihood of cumulative impacts on world heritage values from different developments and activities. In supporting the use of the precautionary principle, the Committee warns that the principle should not be so zealously applied as to lock away large tracts of land for extensive periods of time.

4.153 Another set of criticisms of the permitting processes for developments came from people with an economic interest in world heritage areas. Their criticisms centred on:

4.154 Uncertainty stems from knowing that the Commonwealth may intervene in developments that have been approved by the States. As AMEC pointed out:

In addition, according to the Tourism Council Australia:

Not only is the approval process a long one, it is also complex and the ground rules of the Commonwealth's role in approval processes appeared to be still evolving. [273]

4.155 Although writing about the tourism industry, the comments by the then Commonwealth Department of Tourism about the needs of developers and operators apply equally to anyone using the resources in world heritage areas for economic gain. The Department pointed out:

The Tourism Council Australia agreed that 'it is clearly important for developers and operators to be able to develop proposals against a known framework'. [275] Such a framework might be provided by establishing what categories of development proposals should be subject to environmental assessment. [276]

4.156 The Committee is concerned about cases where lengthy, complex approval processes for development and activities are unreasonably delaying economic activity. The Committee also recognises the difficulties that changes to approval processes may cause when the changes occur after an application has been submitted. Permit systems should be as outcome-oriented as possible; process should not dominate. The Committee mmends that:

4.157 Enforcement of the regulations permitting multiple use of world heritage areas is clearly an important element in protecting world heritage values. The Committee gained the impression during the inquiry that the preferred approach of most managers was to reach desired outcomes through education and persuasion, rather than through legal means. However, the GBRMPA, which places great emphasis on education and consultation, admitted that it had not been tough enough on offenders in the past and was pursuing them more strenuously now. [277] The Committee's view is that managing agencies must concentrate on education and persuasion as their primary approach to enforcing regulations, but encourages them to firmly pursue offenders and to do so more extensively. Accordingly, the Committee recommends that:

4.158 An alternative approach to enforcing regulations which may be appropriate in some circumstances was mentioned to the Committee at its workshop. It entails involving users in controlling their impacts through incentives that build on self interest, for example, offering rate rebates or tax deductions for desirable actions like weed control on properties adjacent to world heritage areas.

Management agreements

4.159 Along with other elements of managing world heritage areas, management arrangements and plans are most effective when they are agreed between the Commonwealth and State Governments. This view was shared by both Government and non-Government witnesses to the inquiry. For example, Mr Dutton stated that:

Other witnesses also took the view that it is most appropriate if agreements are finalised before properties are nominated to the World Heritage List, [279] and are made at the highest possible level, that is, by a Ministerial Council. [280] The 1995 review of the IGAE took a similar view. [281]

4.160 DEST reported that 'the Commonwealth Government has been active for some years in developing joint agreements with the States and Territories over the funding and management of Australia's inscribed World Heritage Areas'. [282] As indicated earlier in this chapter, the Tasmanian management plan was agreed by the State/Commonwealth Ministerial Council, and the same level of agreement for Shark Bay's management plan and management arrangements is being sought. The management arrangements for the Wet Tropics are part of a comprehensive, inter-governmental agreement, and a draft agreement has been negotiated for the Great Barrier Reef but has not been finalised yet. The Committee notes that agreement on management arrangements and plans has still to be reached for the other world heritage areas. It considers that work on the agreements for these areas should be expedited and finalised at Ministerial level. It therefore recommends that:

The private sector's role

4.161 In recent years, contracting out for the supply of certain services has been increasingly employed. The letting of concessions to provide services to visitors in world heritage areas is an example of this trend. In some overseas protected areas, management has been extensively privatised and is performed by businesses or non-government organisations. The Kenyan Wildlife Service, for example, is 90% privately owned. [283]

4.162 There was, however, no support among the witnesses to the inquiry for the idea that total responsibility for the management of Australia's world heritage areas should be carried out by the private sector. Professor Atherton maintained that the private sector should not manage world heritage areas in Australia:

4.163 The Industry Commission's Environment Commissioner agreed with this sentiment, when he pointed out to a conference in 1994 that:

He concluded that maintaining environmental quality into perpetuity is clearly a government responsibility, conceding that, in fact, it was 'not obvious that any one is actually proposing the privatising of existing parks'. [286]

4.164 The private sector's role is widely seen as that of a partner with the public sector in protecting world heritage areas; it can complement the work of world heritage managers through its skills in providing services. Professor Atherton, for example, suggested that:

Bramley believed that unless ways are found of establishing constructive partnerships between the public sector managers and private sector tourist operators, conflicts between the two will escalate. [288]

4.165 Contributors to a book on the private sector's role in relation to national parks saw the possibility of the skills of the public and private sectors being drawn upon to complement each other to a greater extent than at present, effectively balancing out the imperfections in both systems. [289] A greater role for the private sector in the provision of infrastructure and services than hitherto was suggested, with the proviso that the public sector retain strict control over the private sector's activities. As an example, Uluru's Park Manager, Mr Barry, foresaw the possibility of 'non-government contributions to capital development and maintenance' and an expanded role for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal enterprises in the park. [290] Looking to the future, Beeton and Horneman commented that 'increasingly, agency withdrawal from direct service delivery to service quality control and resource management is being canvassed as an alternative' to current arrangements. [291] A situation where this approach would be appropriate has been identified by the Fraser Island Association, which suggested that activities such as capital and maintenance work, managing and maintaining camp sites and waste disposal be undertaken by contractors. [292]

4.166 Not everyone is comfortable with this model. Carter, for example, observed that 'even when business is willing to provide infrastructure capital, the offer has not been accepted', and Charters stated that 'the involvement of the private sector on protected areas very promptly invokes philosophical stances about appropriateness, equity and trustworthiness of the private sector'. [293] As Ms Penelope Figgis, then Vice President of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), pointed out:

The private sector's interest in profit and personal gain is seen as potentially inimical to the environment and the ACF is totally opposed to, for example, accommodation in national parks. It will be necessary for some rapprochement of views before greater public-private sector cooperation on world heritage management is established.

4.167 The Committee's view is that responsibility for the management of world heritage areas should rest at this stage with the public sector, but the private sector has expertise to contribute. The private sector can assist in some aspects of management, and should be used where this is the case, as in contracting out for the provision of certain services supplied in world heritage areas. The Committee therefore recommends that:

4.168 The Committee also considers that it would be valuable to examine how far the private sector could contribute its expertise to a greater extent in the management of world heritage areas, for example in providing infrastructure. [295] In suggesting this, the Committee recognises that any private sector involvement with management must be carefully controlled by the public sector, and it would be essential for regulatory mechanisms to be established to ensure that the conservation of the areas remains the paramount consideration. The Committee therefore recommends that:

Best practice in management

4.169 From the evidence that it has received the Committee has identified several existing management arrangements for world heritage properties that represent good practice. The Committee notes that:

4.170 As there are no formally recognised models of best practice, the approaches listed above can be looked to as sources of guidance. When this is of no help, the consensus seems to be that, for the time being, world heritage managers should look to the manner in which the Commonwealth manages its world heritage areas for guidance. This is either because the Commonwealth's arrangements represent best practice, or because the Commonwealth given its world heritage obligations should be setting the benchmark.

4.171 The Committee's view is that continuing efforts must be made to develop good practices in world heritage management. It notes the recommendation from the evaluation of the WHU's performance that:

Best practice is defined here as the most appropriate means to meet international obligations through an approach that seeks 'continuous improvement without any false expectation that fixed means and absolute goals are involved'.

4.172 The wide ranging review by Professors Boer and Fowler proposed further systematising the legislative and administrative arrangements for world heritage properties, starting with a survey of existing practices here and overseas. It recommended that a world heritage management strategy should then be prepared, general management principles developed for all properties and additional ones specific to individual properties, and finally a world heritage management manual should be compiled. [297] These proposals look as though they would provide a framework into which existing and future best practice arrangements could be incorporated. The Committee supports the proposals.

4.173 An important element in the development of best practice is networking among world heritage managers. Communication among on-the-ground managers has been facilitated by annual meetings convened by the WHU. The review of the WHU's work judged these meetings to be successful forums and recommended that they be continued. It also suggested that these meetings be complemented by others for officers involved at a policy level who are in a position to influence overriding decisions. [298]

Footnotes

[1] Mr P Lucas, submission (number 72), p 2.

[2] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 7.

[3] Australian Committee for IUCN, The Richmond Communique: Principles and Guidelines for the Management of Australia's World Heritage Areas, Richmond, NSW, 7-9 August 1995, p 5.

[4] National Trust of Australia (Victoria), submission (number 48), p 12.

[5] Australian Conservation Foundation, submission (number 35), p 3.

[6] North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 9.

[7] Professor Trevor Atherton, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 192.

[8] Mr Ian Dutton, submission (number 1), p 2.

[9] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 7.

[10] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 18.

[11] Australian Committee for IUCN, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 150.

[12] Ben Boer & Robert J Fowler, The Management of World Heritage Properties in Australia: Report to the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, Part II, undated, issued May 1996, pp. 115-20.

[13] Australian Committee for IUCN, The Richmond Communique, p 6 (see footnote 3, Chapter 4).

[14] Minerals Council of Australia, transcript, 30 November 1995, p 340.

[15] National Farmers' Federation, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 316.

[16] Conservation Council of Western Australia, supplementary submission (number 71), p 3.

[17] Conservation Council of Western Australia, supplementary submission (number 71), p 1.

[18] Western Australian Government, submission (number 56), p 3.

[19] Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 265.

[20] Evaluation Report: World Heritage Management Arrangements, Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, November 1995, p 3.

[21] Dr Ralph J K Chapman, submission (number 5), p 3.

[22] Warren Nicholls & Daryl King, Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 'Consistent management arrangements', presented at the Australian Committee for IUCN Workshop on World Heritage Management, Richmond, 7-9 August 1995, p 1.

[23] Queensland Government, submission (number 74), pp 2-3.

[24] Wet Tropics Management Authority, submission (number 77), p 12-13.

[25] Australian Committee for IUCN, transcript, 1 November 1995, pp 150-1.

[26] Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory (now Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory), submission (number 33), p 11.

[27] Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory, p 16. ANCA, however, disputed this point (submission, number 90, pp 5-6); this issue is discussed further in Chapter 7.

[28] Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory, submission (number 33), p 11.

[29] Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory, submission (number 33), pp 12, 14, 15, 19.

[30] Tourism Council Australia, submission (number 88), p 4.

[31] James Woodford, 'Uluru at centre of NT struggle', The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 June 1996, p 1.

[32] Copies of these letters were provided to the Committee.

[33] Evaluation Report, pp ii-iii (see footnote 20, Chapter 4).

[34] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 330.

[35] Queensland Government, submission (number 74), p 1; transcript, 15 November 1995, p 264.

[36] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 331.

[37] Boer & Fowler, p 87 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4).

[38] Australian Committee for IUCN, The Richmond Communique, pp 4-5 (see footnote 3, Chapter 4).

[39] Australian Mining Industry Council, Australian Petroleum Exploration Association, Business Council of Australia, National Association of Forest Industries & National Farmers' Federation, World Heritage in Australia: Proposed Management Reforms, December 1994, p 3.

[40] Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, submission (number 19), p 2. A similar point was made by the consultant who carried out a socio-economic assessment of the Willandra Lakes world heritage area and recommended that mechanisms must be developed to ensure that all those affected feel ownership of the world heritage region and can contribute to, and preferably participate in, its management (National Farmers' Federation, submission, number 7, p 7.).

[41] Australian Mining Industry Council, submission (number 28), p 22.

[42] Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, submission (number 84), p 2; South Australian Country Women's Association, submission (number 15), p 2.

[43] Orchid Beach Community, submission (number 17), p 2.

[44] Evaluation Report, p 4 (see footnote 20, Chapter 4).

[45] Mr Ian Dutton, submission (number 1), p 5.

[46] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 20.

[47] Mr Peter Valentine, submission (number 29), p 4.

[48] Wet Tropics Management Authority, Draft Wet Tropics Plan: Protection through Partnerships: Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Wet Tropics Management Authority, Cairns, October 1995, p 20.

[49] Far North Queensland Promotion Bureau, submission (number 85), p 1.

[50] Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, 'Investing in our natural heritage', Budget statement, 20 August 1996.

[51] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, submission (number 59), p 8.

[52] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, submission (number 59), p 10.

[53] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, submission (number 59), p 3.

[54] New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 136.

[55] National Parks Association of NSW, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 159; World Wide Fund for Nature Australia, submission (number 83), p 2.

[56] Willandra Landholders Protection Society, submission (number 23), pp 1-2.

[57] Willandra Landholders Protection Society, submission (number 23), p 4.

[58] Eurong Beach Resort, submission (number 10), p 5; Orchid Beach Community, submission (number 17), p 3; Cathedral Beach Resort & Camping Park, submission (number 43), p 7; The Fraser Island Association Inc., submission (number 46), p 2.

[59] Fraser Island Association, submission (number 46), p 2.

[60] Fraser Island Association, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 257.

[61] Mr Tony Charters, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 209. Kingfisher Bay Resort is the largest employer on Fraser Island.

[62] Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 270.

[63] Helen Gee, submission (number 12), attachment 11.

[64] The National Council of Women of Tasmania, submission (number 20), p 1.

[65] Evaluation Report, p 13 (see footnote 20, Chapter 4).

[66] Professor Michael Archer, transcript, 1 November 1995, pp 174-5.

[67] National Trust of Australia (Victoria), submission (number 48), p 14.

[68] Australian Conservation Foundation, submission (number 79), p 3.

[69] Evaluation Report, p 27 (see footnote 20, Chapter 4).

[70] Boer & Fowler, p 126 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4).

[71] Mr John Sinclair, transcript, 1 November 1995, pp 186-7.

[72] Fraser Island Defenders Organization, submission (number 44), pp 1-2.

[73] Fraser Island Association, submission (number 80), attachment.

[74] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 330; submission (number 78), pp 3-4.

[75] Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 266.

[76] Mr Duncan McInnes, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 223.

[77] Thoorgine Educational & Culture Centre Aboriginal Corporation, submission (number 11), p 4.

[78] Mr Duncan McInnes, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 223.

[79] Dr Dermot Smyth, submission (number 24), p 2.

[80] Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, transcript, 15 November 1995, pp 266-7.

[81] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 294.

[82] Acting Chief Executive Officer, Australian Nature Conservation Agency, covering letter dated 22 March 1995 to submission (number 37).

[83] Australian Nature Conservation Agency, submission (number 37), pp 6-10.

[84] Julian Barry, 'Enhancing protected area management through indigenous involvement: the Uluru model', paper given to the World Heritage Managers Conference, Ravenshoe, Queensland, April 1996, pp 1-3.

[85] Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory, submission (number 33), pp 9-10.

[86] Australian Nature Conservation Agency, submission (number 90), pp 3-5.

[87] Evaluation Report, p 15 (see footnote 20, Chapter 4).

[88] Boer & Fowler, pp. 132-3 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4).

[89] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, submission (number 68), p 5; Tourism Council Australia, submission (number 73), p 7. As discussed at greater length in Chapter 8, the imposition in the 1996-97 Budget of an increased environment management charge on tourist operators without any consultation is likely to have substantially undermined the effectiveness of the consultative process.

[90] Australia, House of Representatives, 1996, Debates, vol. HR, 20 August, p 3298.

[91] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, submission (number 68), pp 5-6.

[92] Tourism Council Australia, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 302; submission (number 88), p 2.

[93] Professor Trevor Atherton, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 192.

[94] UNESCO, Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, February 1996, paragraph 44(b)(v). For cultural sites, a management plan is not required, but the nominating State Party 'should be able to provide evidence of suitable administrative arrangements to cover the management of the property' (paragraph 24(b)(ii)).

[95] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 17.

[96] Some of the information provided in the following paragraphs is taken from Attachment F of the submission by the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), pp 34-8.

[97] Department of Parks, Wildlife and Heritage, Tasmania, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan 1992, 1992.

[98] Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Consultative Committee, submission (number 25), p 2.

[99] Queensland Government, Great Sandy Region Management Plan, 1994-2010, 1994.

[100] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, submission (number 59), pp 10-11.

[101] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, submission (number 59), pp 1, 8.

[102] P H C Lucas, T J Webb, P S Valentine & H Marsh, The Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Vol. 1, A Draft Report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, undated, pp 68-9.

[103] A more inclusive requirement exists in Queensland's Nature Conservation Act 1994, which is regarded as superior to this amendment (Lucas & others, The Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, p 38).

[104] Uluru-Kata Tjuta Board of Management & Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Uluru (Ayers Rock - Mount Olga) National Park Plan of Management, 1991; Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service & Kakadu National Park Board of Management, Kakadu National Park Plan of Management, 1991.

[105] Wet Tropics Management Authority, Draft Wet Tropics Plan (see footnote 48, Chapter 4).

[106] Sustaining the Willandra: the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Property Plan of Management, 1996; Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 78), p 4.

[107] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 87.

[108] Western Australian Government, transcript, 13 July 1995, p 10.

[109] Boer & Fowler, p 86 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4); Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 37.

[110] Boer & Fowler, p. 91; Nicholls & King, p 11 (see footnote 22, Chapter 4).

[111] New South Wales Government, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 143.

[112] Mr Ian Dutton, submission (number 1), p 3.

[113] Western Australian Government, submission (number 56), pp 2, 5.

[114] Australian Nature Conservation Agency, submission (number 37), p 15.

[115] Western Australian Government, submission (number 56), p 5.

[116] Western Australian Government, transcript, 13 July 1995, p 8.

[117] The Great Barrier Reef: Keeping It Great: a 25 Year Strategic Plan for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, 1994-2019, GBRMPA, 1994.

[118] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, submission (number 59), p 7.

[119] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 292.

[120] Lucas & others, The Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, p 39 (see footnote 102, Chapter 4).

[121] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 8.

[122] Mr Ian Dutton, submission (number 1) p 3.

[123] For example, South Australian Farmers Federation, submission (number 6), pp 3-4; The South Australian Country Women's Association, submission (number 15), p 1; S Kidman & Co., submission (number 13), p 5; Pastoralists' and Graziers' Association of WA (Inc.), submission (number 22), p 2.

[124] Australian Mining Industry Council, submission (number 28) p 20; National Farmers' Federation, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 318.

[125] Willandra Landholders Protection Group, submission (number 23), p 4.

[126] Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, transcript, 13 July 1995, p 40.

[127] Mr Ian Dutton, submission (number 1), p 9.

[128] Australian Mining Industry Council & others, p 1 (see footnote 39, Chapter 4).

[129] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 81.

[130] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 82.

[131] Department of the Environment,, Sport and territories, 28 August 1995, p 90.

[132] UNESCO, Operational Guidelines, paragraph 44(b)(v) (see footnote 94).

[133] Australian Committee for IUCN, The Richmond Communique, p 6 (see footnote 3, Chapter 4).

[134] Australian Conservation Foundation, submission (number 79), p 6.

[135] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 331. The Australian Heritage Commission also advises on management plans (submission, number 32, pp 1-2.)

[136] Australian Conservation Foundation, submission (number 79), p 6; National Parks Association of New South Wales, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 158; North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 2.

[137] Boer & Fowler, p 44 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4).

[138] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 18.

[139] UNESCO, Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972.

[140] North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 11.

[141] Application of IUCN Protected Area Management Categories: Draft Australian Handbook, Australian Nature Conservation Agency, July 1996, p 13.

[142] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, submission (number 68), p 6.

[143] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 283.

[144] Australian Committee for IUCN, The Richmond Communique, p 7 (see footnote 3, Chapter 4).

[145] Minerals Council of Australia, transcript, 30 November 1995, p 345.

[146] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 296.

[147] See footnote 146.

[148] See footnote 146.

[149] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 296.

[150] P S Valentine, Hinchinbrook Area World Heritage Values and the Oyster Point Proposals, A report to Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, August 1994, p 3.

[151] Mr David Haigh, submission (number 16), p 7.

[152] Mr Grant Revell, submission (number 2), pp 1-2.

[153] North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 2; Boer & Fowler, p 124 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4).

[154] Lucas & others, The Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, p 49 (see footnote 102, Chapter 4).

[155] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, submission (number 59), p 2.

[156] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, submission (number 59), pp 6-7.

[157] North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 6. The source of the quotation from Tsamenyi et al. is as follows: Tsamenyi B M, Bedding J & Wall J, 'Determining the World Heritage values of the Lemonthyme and Southern Forests: lessons from the Helsham Inquiry', Environmental and Planning Law Journal, vol 6, 1989, p 87.

[158] For example, Mr David Haigh, submission (number 16), p 3; transcript, 15 November 1995, p 227; Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, transcript, 15 November 1995, pp 241-2.

[159] Australian Committee for IUCN, The Richmond Communique, p 6 (see footnote 3, Chapter 4).

[160] UNESCO, Operational Guidelines, paragraph 44(b)(i), (ii) (see footnote 94, Chapter 4).

[161] Steering Committee (Australian Committee of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Australian Heritage Commission, Australian Local Government Association & Environment Institute of Australia), Interim Australian Natural Heritage Charter for the Conservation of Places of Natural Heritage Significance, January 1996, p 11.

[162] Valentine, Hinchinbrook Area World Heritage Values, p 3 (see footnote 150, Chapter 4).

[163] North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 18.

[164] See, for example, the inclusion of Aboriginal cultural values in the 25-year strategic plan for the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area.

[165] Dr Dermot Smyth, submission (number 24), pp 1-2.

[166] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 27 November 1995, pp 323-4.

[167] Evaluation Report, p 29 (see footnote 20, Chapter 4).

[168] Australia, Senate, Environment, Recreation, Communications and the Arts Legislation Committee, 1996, Consideration of Estimates, 17 September 1996, pp 39-40.

[169] Lucas & others, The Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, pp 48, 56 (see footnote 102, Chapter 4).

[170] Australian Council of National Trusts, submission (number 52), p 2.

[171] Australian Council of National Trusts, submission (number 52), pp 1-2; National Trust of Australia (Victoria), submission (number 48), pp 7-8.

[172] Australian Committee for the IUCN, The Richmond Communique, p 7 (see footnote 3, Chapter 4).

[173] New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 142.

[174] New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 133.

[175] Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory, submission (number 33), p 8.

[176] Western Australian Government, transcript, 13 July 1995, p 21.

[177] National Farmers' Federation, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 315.

[178] Mr David Haigh, transcript, 15 November 1995, pp 229-30.

[179] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, pp 290-1.

[180] The issue of whether the boundary of the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area should be altered is discussed in greater detail in Chapter 3, paragraphs 3.55-3.56.

[181] Australian Committee for IUCN, The Richmond Communique, p 3 (see footnote 3, Chapter 4).

[182] National Farmers' Federation, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 316.

[183] Minerals Council of Australia, transcript, 30 November 1995, p 341.

[184] Minerals Council of Australia, transcript, 30 November 1995, pp 344-5.

[185] For example, Geco-Prakla, submission (number 69), pp 12-13; Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, transcript, 13 July 1995, pp 38, 48.

[186] Chamber of Mines, Metals and Extractive Industries (NSW), submission (number 31), p 4.

[187] S Kidman & Co., submission (number 13), p 6.

[188] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 17.

[189] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 296.

[190] Conservation Council of Western Australia, submission (number 51), p 2.

[191] Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, submission (number 53), pp 5-6; North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 8.

[192] World Wide Fund for Nature Australia, submission (number 83), p 2.

[193] Australian Mining Industry Council, submission (number 28), pp 30-32.

[194] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, transcript, 31 August 1995, p 117.

[195] Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 248; Geco-Prakla, submission (number 69), p 11; Lucas & others, The Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, (see footnote 102, Chapter 4).

[196] Australian Nature Conservation Agency, transcript, 28 August 1995, pp 88-9.

[197] For example, Mr Michael C Byers, submission (number 3), p 3.

[198] Tourism Council Australia, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 305.

[199] Australian Nature Conservation Agency, submission (number 37), p 26.

[200] Professor Trevor Atherton, submission (number 49), pp 1-2.

[201] Professor Trevor Atherton, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 194. Morgans gives a detailed account of problems in North American parks and the authorities' solutions ('Commercialising protected areas: lessons from the USA', in National Parks: Private Sector's Role, eds T Charters, M Gabriel & S Prasser, USQ Press, Toowoomba, 1996, p 98).

[202] Julian Barry, '"User pays" at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park: current and future directions', paper given to the Best Practice Ecotourism National Conference, Coolangatta, Queensland, July 1996, pp 4-5.

[203] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 295.

[204] Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 241.

[205] Mr Peter S Valentine, submission (number 29), p 3.

[206] Western Australian Government, transcript, 13 July 1995, pp 29-30.

[207] New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 141.

[208] The Hon Mr Laurie Brereton, MP, then Minister for Transport, media release, 8 September 1995.

[209] Anne Ross, 'Traditional hunting in national parks and the cultural heritage paradigm', Ngulaig, no. 11, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit, The University of Queensland, 1994, p 7.

[210] Julie Collins, Nicholas Klomp & Jim Birckhead, 'Aboriginal use of wildlife: past, present and future', in Sustainable Use of Wildlife by Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders, eds M Bomford & J Caughley, AGPS, Canberra, 1996, p 14.

[211] Mary Bomford & Judy Caughley, 'Ecologically sustainable harvesting of wildlife by aboriginal peoples', in Sustainable Use of Wildlife by Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders, eds M Bomford & J Caughley, AGPS, Canberra, 1996, p 71.

[212] Helene Marsh, 'Progress towards the sustainable use of dugongs by indigenous peoples in Queensland', in Sustainable Use of Wildlife by Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders, eds M Bomford & J Caughley, AGPS, Canberra, 1996, p 147.

[213] IUCN, Guidelines for Protected Area Management Categories, IUCN, Cambridge, 1994, p 23.

[214] Australian Committee for the IUCN, The Richmond Communique, p 7 (see footnote 3, Chapter 4).

[215] Australian Nature Conservation Agency, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 94. The Committee also noted the view of some critics that the managers of some world heritage areas had been too pragmatic in allowing multiple use in these areas (Fraser Island Defenders Organization, submission number 44, p 2; Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, submission number 55, p 2).

[216] IUCN, submission (number 14), p 1.

[217] Brendan O'Malley, 'Reef not being harmed by tourism: report', Courier Mail, 1 December 1995, p 2.

[218] For example, Australian Nature Conservation Agency, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 96.

[219] Professor Trevor Atherton, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 193.

[220] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 89; Mr Tony Charters, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 213.

[221] Dr Ralph Chapman, submission (number 5), p 5; Tasmanian Government, submission (number 63), p 14.

[222] UNESCO, Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, February 1996, paragraph 17.

[223] Australian Nature Conservation Agency, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 94.

[224] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 95. By way of explanation, Dr Kay said that 'internationally the debate on buffer zones is mostly around cultural properties, to prevent large, high-rise hotels from being built on the doorstep of ancient monuments. It really is that issue which brings in buffer zones far more than the natural properties.'

[225] Tasmanian Government, submission (number 63), p 4.

[226] Western Australian Government, transcript, 13 July 1995, p 7.

[227] Wet Tropics Management Authority, Draft Wet Tropics Plan, p 19 (see footnote 48, Chapter 4).

[228] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, pp 283, 291.

[229] Australian Committee for IUCN, The Richmond Communique, p 6 (see footnote 3, Chapter 4).

[230] Western Australian Government, transcript, 13 July 1995, p 8.

[231] Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, submission (number 53), p 5.

[232] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 283.

[233] Wet Tropics Management Authority, submission (number 77), p 12.

[234] Wet Tropics Management Authority, Draft Wet Tropics Plan, p 19 (see footnote 48, Chapter 4).

[235] New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 143.

[236] The Tasmanian Conservation Trust and the Wilderness Society (Tasmania), submission (number 21), p 2. It should be noted, however, that, according to the Tasmanian Government, the nomination documents for the Tasmanian Wilderness permit forestry operations close to the world heritage area boundary (submission, number 63, p 4).

[237] North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 14.

[238] Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, submission (number 53), p 5.

[239] National Farmers' Federation, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 319.

[240] New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 143.

[241] Tasmanian Government, submission (number 63), p 4.

[242] The Tourism Council Australia indicated that it supported 'objective research for environmental preservation whether these are base line studies prior to activities being undertaken and/or monitoring any impacts of activities' (submission, number 73, p 9).

[243] Australian Institute of Marine Science, Annual Report 1994-95, p 51; Mr Ted Lindsay, MP, Parliamentary Secretary, Industry, Technology and Regional Development, media release, 17 August 1994.

[244] Western Australian Fisheries Department, submission (number 67), p 2.

[245] Australian Nature Conservation Agency, submission (number 37), p 28.

[246] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, submission (number 68), appendix D, p 2.

[247] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, transcript, 31 August 1995, p 114.

[248] Valentine, Hinchinbrook Area World Heritage Values, p viii (see footnote 150, Chapter 4).

[249] North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 10.

[250] Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, submission (number 53), pp 5-6.

[251] Australian Conservation Foundation, Policy Statement No. 41, National and World Heritage Areas, p 1.

[252] New South Wales Government, transcript, 1 November 1995, pp 143-4.

[253] Australian Committee for IUCN, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 153.

[254] North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 10.

[255] Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 263.

[256] Western Australian Government, transcript, 13 July 1995, p 7.

[257] IUCN, submission (number 14), p 1.

[258] Mr David Haigh, submission (number 16), pp 5-6; National Parks Association of New South Wales, submission (number 57), p 3; Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, submission (number 55), p 1. The Richmond Communique also endorsed the use of the precautionary principle.

[259] Conservation Council of Western Australia, submission (number 51), p 2; North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 16.

[260] Boer & Fowler, p 57 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4).

[261] Boer & Fowler, p 32.

[262] Valentine, Hinchinbrook Area World Heritage Values, p vii (see footnote 150, Chapter 4).

[263] IUCN, submission (number 14), p 1.

[264] National Parks Association of NSW, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 159; North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 14.

[265] North Queensland Conservation Council, submission (number 45), p 12.

[266] For example, Mr David Haigh, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 226.

[267] Australian Committee for IUCN, The Richmond Communique, p 7 (see footnote 3, Chapter 4).

[268] Boer & Fowler, p 124 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4).

[269] Tourism Council Australia, submission (number 73), p 5.

[270] S Kidman & Co., submission (number 13), pp 2, 7.

[271] Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, transcript, 13 July 1995, pp 45-6.

[272] Tourism Council Australia, submission (number 73), p 6.

[273] Tourism Council Australia, submission (number 73), pp 3, 5.

[274] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, submission (number 68), pp 5-6.

[275] Tourism Council Australia, submission (number 73), p 6.

[276] Boer & Fowler, p. 123 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4).

[277] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 297.

[278] Mr Ian Dutton, submission (number 1), p 4.

[279] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 90; South Australian Government, submission (number 60), p 2.

[280] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 331; Western Australian Government, transcript, 13 July 1995, p 10.

[281] Intergovernmental Committee on Ecologically Sustainable Development, Report to the Council of Australian Governments on the Review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, July 1995, quoted by Boer & Fowler, p 29 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4).

[282] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 28.

[283] Kreg Lindberg, Policies for Maximizing Nature Tourism's Ecological and Economic Benefits, International Conservation Financing Project Working Paper, World Resources Institute, 1991,

pp 24-5.

[284] Professor Trevor Atherton, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 195.

[285] Tor Hundloe, 'The private sector and resource management in parks and protected areas', in National Parks: Private Sector's Role, eds T Charter, M Gabriel & S Prasser, USQ Press, Toowoomba, 1996, pp 38, 49-50.

[286] Hundloe, pp 48, 51.

[287] Professor Trevor Atherton, transcript, 15 November 1995, pp 194-5.

[288] Richard Bramley, 'Ecotourism and recreation management: a tourism industry perspective', in National Parks: Private Sector's Role, p 103.

[289] Hundloe, p 45; David Morgans, 'Commercialising protected areas: lessons from the USA', in National Parks: Private Sector's Role, p 101.

[290] Julian Barry, '"User pays" at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park', p 5 (see footnote 202, Chapter 4).

[291] Robert Beeton & Louise Horneman, 'The state of the environment: how did we get here and where are we going?', in National Parks: Private Sector's Role, p 14.

[292] Fraser Island Association, submission (number 80), attachment.

[293] Bill Carter, 'Private sector involvement in recreation and nature conservation in Australia', in National Parks: Private Sector's Role, p 24; Tony Charters, 'Ecotourism: a tool for conservation', in National Parks: Private Sector's Role, p 81.

[294] Penelope J Figgis, 'A conservation perspective', in National Parks: Private Sector's Role, p 57.

[295] Board walks and the proposed light railway for Fraser Island are examples of the infrastructure that private operators might provide (Mr Tony Charters, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 208).

[296] Evaluation Report, p 5 (see footnote 20, Chapter 4).

[297] Boer & Fowler, pp 121-6 (see footnote 12, Chapter 4).

[298] Evaluation Report, p 31 (see footnote 20, Chapter 4).

 


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