House of Representatives Committees

Managing Australia's World Heritage

CHAPTER 6: PRESENTATION AND EDUCATION

The obligation to present world heritage areas

6.1 The listing of a world heritage property confers upon it international recognition and identifies that property as something special and noteworthy:

6.2 The ACF suggested that all Australians should feel proud and privileged to have such areas in Australia and should accept special responsibility for the protection of these areas. Furthermore, the Australian Government, as the nation's representative, should emphasise their national and international value. The ACF's policy on the promotion of world heritage is that:

6.3 The ACF's view that Australian Governments should advance the understanding of world heritage reflects the obligations and duties imposed by the World Heritage Convention in relation to sites on the World Heritage List. Article 4 of the Convention calls for States Parties to ensure that effective and active measures are taken to present the cultural and natural heritage of world heritage areas.

6.4 Article 5 further expresses the need to give the cultural and natural heritage of world heritage areas 'a function in the life of the community'. Presentation is therefore a key and obligatory element in the management of world heritage areas. The National Parks Association of New South Wales commented on the potential for this obligation to increase the public's appreciation of world heritage values and to enhance the experiences of people who visit world heritage areas:

6.5 Presentation of world heritage areas can also enhance the tourism value of an area. The TCA, for example, noted that world heritage listing enhances international recognition and is used by the tourism industry to enhance international visitation. [5] The New South Wales Government commented on the market advantages to the tourism industry which can use world heritage areas as a selling point:

The then Commonwealth Department of Tourism also acknowledged that presenting world heritage properties is not only an obligation of the Commonwealth Government but is important for ecotourism and to meet tourist demands. [7]

Responsibility for presenting world heritage areas

6.6 The Commonwealth Government is the State Party to the Convention and is therefore obliged to ensure that presentation and education is adequate with regard to Australia's world heritage areas. DEST has the major responsibility for these functions at the Commonwealth level, and regards presentation as an important aspect of its work. Dr Nicholls from DEST made the following comment:

6.7 In evidence to the Committee, DEST accepted that the Commonwealth should contribute to the costs of strengthening management and presenting and interpreting world heritage areas to visitors. [9] DEST, however, considered that it has a joint responsibility, along with the States, to present and manage world heritage properties. [10] DEST also accepted that it has a joint responsibility with the States to fund presentation facilities in world heritage areas. It has provided some resources to State managed world heritage areas and claimed that additional resources would be provided for interpretation:

6.8 The Committee considers presentation is an integral part of the management of world heritage areas, and given that the States are involved in management they will also be involved in presentation. The joint responsibility referred to by DEST therefore recognises the reality of the administrative arrangements that apply in most areas.

Presentation versus protection

6.9 Tourism bodies have pointed out that there has been an increased focus on nature based tourism, and more visitors are seeking opportunities for high quality tourism experiences in natural and indigenous cultural environments. The then Commonwealth Department of Tourism claimed that, while the exact size and nature of the market for Australian ecotourism is uncertain, there are strong indications of growth. For example, research by the Australian Tourist Commission indicated that a considerable proportion of the international visitors to Australia ranked natural phenomena as major factors influencing their choice of Australia as their destination. Also, growth in visitation to national parks and world heritage areas indicates an upward trend in ecotourism. [12] A survey of visitors to Kakadu National Park indicated that they recognised the area's world heritage status, and a large proportion of them visited the park in order to appreciate the natural and cultural attributes. [13]

6.10 The New South Wales Government agreed that world heritage areas are major tourist drawcards which receive higher than average visitation levels and therefore demand special care and treatment. [14] Professor Atherton from Bond University confirmed that world heritage status attracts tourists:

6.11 Most of Australia's world heritage areas were attracting visitors before they were added to the World Heritage List, and they continue to do so. The Committee received no clear quantitative evidence that world heritage listing attracted additional tourists. However, it considers that this is likely to be the case or may become so. Thus, there is an underlying strength and market potential for world heritage tourism. While world heritage listing is not a guarantee of increases in tourism, it is a tool used in tourism marketing.

6.12 The ACF suggested that an important means of fostering an appreciation of world heritage areas is to encourage visitors to the areas, provided that tourism and protection of the areas are compatible. Consequently, the ACF's policy on tourism in world heritage areas states that 'tourism that is compatible with the on-going protection of the natural areas should be encouraged in and around natural areas of national and/or world heritage'. [16]

6.13 The Committee received evidence that the presentation of world heritage areas can coexist with the protection of world heritage values. The then Commonwealth Department of Tourism argued that tourism has the potential to help present world heritage areas through sensitive development both in and adjacent to them. The previous Government's National Ecotourism Program, for example, aimed to develop sustainable ecotourism through innovative projects that would increase Australia's competitiveness as an ecotourism destination, enhance visitor appreciation of natural and cultural values, and contribute to the long term conservation and management of ecotourism. [17] ANCA claimed that public education assisted in managing pressures on the heritage values of conservation areas. [18]

6.14 Mr Haigh expressed his concerns about the apparent conflict between protecting world heritage values and presenting them to an increasing number of tourists. He made this comment about presenting world heritage areas:

Mr Haigh claimed that world heritage areas can be presented provided the duty to protect and conserve for future generations takes precedence. He commented on the line between presentation and overuse:

6.15 An area of potential conflict between the obligation to present and the obligation to conserve world heritage values was brought to the Committee's attention. The Alliance for Sustainable Tourism pointed out that presenting a world heritage area to the public requires that the area be accessible and cautioned against locking away parts of the country. [21] However, providing access may threaten the area's values, particularly when inadequate funding means that access routes cannot be well maintained nor designed to minimise environmental impacts. The Far North Queensland Promotion Bureau reported that it believed that the WTMA was unable 'to recognise its obligations to "present" the World Heritage asset as part of the international convention', and alleged that:

The Committee considers, however, that as a general principle it is absolutely proper that the WTMA should give conservation priority over presentation of an area, although generally both objectives can be mutually satisfied.

6.16 As indicated above, world heritage areas have the potential to attract large numbers of visitors. Accordingly, there is a great opportunity to promote awareness of conservation values to a wide range of people. The Committee considers that, since world heritage areas are of international significance and attract tourists who are seeking a special experience, presentation in the areas is particularly important. To ensure that presentation is professionally carried out while protecting world heritage values, the Committee recommends that:

6.17 The Committee notes that protection and presentation of world heritage areas have to be managed compatibly since both are obligations under the Convention. The Committee concludes that the presentation of a world heritage property can be consistent with the protection of world heritage values, and can make protection easier to achieve. However, as noted in Chapter 3, any development that might be carried out for the presentation of a world heritage area has to be consistent with the overriding requirement to protect and conserve the area. Adequate management, supported by monitoring of world heritage areas, as discussed in Chapters 4 and 5 are required to ensure that presentation does not outweigh or conflict with protection.

Education about world heritage

6.18 Article 27 of the Convention establishes an obligation to educate people about world heritage:

6.19 The ACIUCN's Richmond Communique laid out some principles of education about world heritage areas. It proposed that:

Furthermore, the Communique stipulated that, where authorities such as UNESCO, IUCN and ICOMOS endorse, or permit the use of their logo in conjunction with, a publication about world heritage or world heritage properties, they should ensure the accuracy of the information contained within the publication by reference of a draft text to the relevant world heritage managers or other appropriate local persons or authorities. [23]

6.20 The education and consultation strategies of the GBRMPA provide an example of a well-developed approach that is in sympathy with the above principles. These strategies include:

A representative from the GBRMPA stated that education is most important in world heritage management:

6.21 The Committee supports the above principles of the Richmond Communique and the strategies of the GBRMPA. It considers the principles of the Richmond Communique to be particularly important as they were agreed to by a diverse group of representatives from Commonwealth, State, Territory and local governments, managing agencies, the tourism industry, conservation groups and indigenous groups who attended the workshop arranged by the ACIUCN.

6.22 Community education can, like presenting world heritage areas, assist management authorities to achieve their objectives. The community, if adequately educated about the threats to the values of world heritage areas, will generally react favourably to the need to take protective measures. This would appear to be the case with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park world heritage area where runoff from areas outside the marine park is a significant threat. An independent review of the management of the marine park, which was commissioned by the GBRMPA and published in 1991, observed that:

Awareness of world heritage

6.23 It was suggested to the Committee by a number of witnesses that more education and information programs were needed to enable Australians to better understand and value their world heritage. [27] For instance, Mr Hadler from the NFF claimed that little information had been released to the public about world heritage:

Participants at the Committee's workshop claimed that ignorance about world heritage listing can elevate a community's fear towards world heritage.

6.24 Atherton and Atherton suggested that a large proportion of the world's population has never heard of the Convention or the concept of a common cultural and natural heritage. [29] This is probably not the case for Australians but, as one witness observed, they are sometimes misinformed about world heritage and assume that world heritage status automatically means a protected area status. [30] Dr Thorsell of the IUCN commented on the general misunderstanding of world heritage:

6.25 The WTMA commissioned AGB McNair to conduct surveys in 1992 and 1993 of attitudes to the Wet Tropics world heritage area. The study surveyed the region of Cairns and the three cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The total awareness of the Wet Tropics as a world heritage area rose between 1992 and 1993 both regionally (71 per cent to 87 per cent) and in the cities (31 per cent to 43 per cent). [32]

6.26 A similar survey contracted by the Parks and Wildlife Service in Tasmania looked at the level of knowledge of and attitudes to world heritage within the Tasmanian community. The survey found that over 80 per cent of the 500 respondents had heard of the Tasmanian Wilderness world heritage area; however, only one in 100 people in the Tasmanian community was aware that the nomination of the Tasmanian Wilderness world heritage area met cultural criteria as well as natural as a result of evidence of Aboriginal life and culture in the area. [33]

6.27 The Committee is of the view that the preservation of world heritage areas depends on public support. It is concerned that many people do not understand what world heritage means and do not know what world heritage areas exist. To appreciate and respect world heritage areas, the community must firstly have some knowledge of them. The public needs ongoing programs of education so it can understand and appreciate the concept of world heritage and the value of world heritage areas. There is also a need to maintain awareness among policy makers and managers that a world heritage area has outstanding universal value which needs to be managed and respected in a manner which reflects its global significance. [34] It is essential that funding is provided for educational and publicity programs designed to enable Australians to better understand and value world heritage. As declared under the Convention, States Parties should endeavour to strengthen appreciation and respect of world heritage values. The Committee therefore recommends that:

Educating about indigenous values

6.28 Several world heritage areas provide extensive information to visitors about the culture of local indigenous groups, with indigenous people being involved as guides and interpreters. The then Commonwealth Department of Tourism predicted that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in or adjacent to world heritage areas will play an increasingly important role in tourism in the future. This is partly due to a growing demand from visitors to meet indigenous people and learn about their cultures. [35]

6.29 ANCA employs and trains Aboriginal staff to conduct tours and educate visitors about the indigenous values at both Kakadu and Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Parks. Of a total of 26 full-time and six part time permanent positions at Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park in 1995-96, nine were occupied by local Anangu people. Anangu people also monitor the park's interpretation program and ensure that all staff provide accurate information about Aboriginal culture. Aboriginal people have extensive involvement in the presentation of activities to visitors of Kakadu National Park. In addition, recently opened cultural centres are located in these parks and offer indigenous displays and interpretation. The Warradjan Cultural Centre in Kakadu National Park interprets the indigenous values of the property through displays of Aboriginal history, Aboriginal stories and Aboriginal contact with Europeans, all from an Aboriginal perspective. At Uluru Kata-Tjuta, the new cultural centre provides information about the park and the Anangu culture and contains shops for the sale of handcrafts.

6.30 The WTMA has included in its draft management plan the need to pay special attention to the needs of rainforest Aboriginal communities. The Authority has indicated that the provision of information and interpretation about Aboriginal culture will involve the communities themselves. The plan proposes that, where Aboriginal cultural information is presented, it should be endorsed by the relevant Aboriginal community and, if the community desires, should directly involve Aboriginal people in its presentation. In addition, tour operators and land managers are encouraged to give increased emphasis to presenting the Aboriginal culture of the area. [36]

6.31 TECCAC was established as a representative body of the Badtjala Nation of Fraser Island, and used an area of land on Fraser Island for an Educational and Culture Centre to promote racial and cultural awareness and harmony. TECCAC's funding was derived from grants from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and earnings from its own business enterprises such as selling indigenous tours and artefacts. Mr McInnes, the then Director of TECCAC, told the Committee about the tourist trips the Centre organised:

6.32 The Committee considers that visitors to world heritage areas should be able to find adequate information about the values of the indigenous people of the area. The Committee agrees with the principle put forward by the ACIUCN that 'indigenous perspectives of world heritage need to be included as an integral part of any education/information program, and must be developed in consultation with the indigenous community'. [38] The Committee recommends that:

The presenters and educators

6.33 The success of presentation and education programs depends on the skills and knowledge of the people operating those programs. This is recognised in Article 5 of the World Heritage Convention, which states that the States Parties to the Convention shall endeavour to 'foster the establishment or development of national or regional centres for training in the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage and to encourage scientific research in this field'.

6.34 According to its draft management plan, the WTMA intends to develop a wet tropics tour operator's handbook, implement an appropriate commercial tour operator's accreditation scheme, and continue to contribute to training programs to help ensure tour operators are properly informed, better able to promote appropriate visitor behaviour and provide satisfying visitor opportunities. The WTMA has also undertaken to support the inclusion of non-specific Aboriginal cultural information in tour operator training courses. [39] In addition, the WTMA supports the establishment of the proposed Ravenshoe Institute for Community Tourism which will incorporate a visitor centre, utilising an accredited TAFE course in heritage and interpretive tourism. The WTMA claimed that part of the appeal of the new Institute is that it will develop tourism away from the mass market approach to more of a value added product, and it will create a better tourism product while producing highly professional guides. [40]

6.35 Training courses for guides are conducted by some world heritage area managers. ANCA, for example, conducts an Aboriginal Ranger Training Program for trainee Aboriginal rangers. Trainees at Uluru have learnt to deliver tours and have played a major role in teaching Park staff the Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara language and about other aspects of Anangu culture. [41] ANCA has also concentrated on educating Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park's tour operators who bring around 330,000 people to the park annually. An intensive three day tour operator's workshop covers issues such as the culture, history, fauna, flora, management and geology of Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park. Anangu people have been central in initiating and delivering these workshops. [42] At Kakadu National Park, the Aboriginal Staff Training Program recruited four people during 1994-95. Training comprised on-the-job work experience and complementary course work. In addition, two tourism industry seminars were held during 1994-95, which provided tour operators with information about the values and features of Kakadu National Park in order to assist them to provide a high quality visitor experience of the Park to their clients. [43]

6.36 Training courses have been conducted for tour operators on Fraser Island, and the Great Sandy Region Management Plan 1995-2010 proposed that minimum training accreditation requirements for commercial tour operators within the region be established. [44] According to the manager at Naracoorte Caves, there is the need for ongoing inservice training of guides and interpreters to supply them with up to date information.

6.37 In its report of November 1994, entitled Working with the Environment: Opportunities for Job Growth, the Committee recommended that the Commonwealth Government work jointly with the State and Territory Governments, and with the ecotourism industry, to establish quickly a national ecotourism accreditation scheme for operators. [45] One of the programs in the previous Commonwealth Government's National Ecotourism Strategy explored the development and implementation of an industry-led national system of accreditation for ecotourism operations. [46] Based on extensive consultation, the accreditation scheme has been trialed and is expected to be inaugurated at the end of 1996 under the auspices of the TCA. The Committee will be interested in how the proposed accreditation scheme can be utilised in world heritage areas. The Committee also noted an initiative to develop training guidelines for guides by the TCA. [47]

6.38 The Committee considers it important that both the Government and the tourism industry maintain an adequate standard of educative experience in world heritage areas. Further, it is vital that tour operators and guides are adequately trained to give informative and accurate commentary. Some progress is being made and the Committee notes that accreditation schemes are being developed with the ecotourism industry by the Tourism Division of the Department of Industry, Science and Tourism and the TCA. The Committee is impressed by the initiative to establish the Institute for Community Tourism in the Wet Tropics world heritage area as it will market the region as an ecotourism destination and provide training to providers in the tourism industry. Despite these developments there is much still to be done and the Committee recommends that:

Volunteers as presenters and educators

6.39 Some managing agencies of world heritage areas currently have volunteers working for them. The Great Barrier Reef Aquarium utilises volunteers who primarily provide visitor services and education. The 120 volunteers, including 25 student volunteers, provided 15 000 hours of service in 1994-95. [48] In the Wet Tropics more than 100 volunteers were working in community relations programs located in Cairns, Townsville, Lake Eacham, Innisfail and Cardwell in 1994-95. [49]

6.40 The information centre at Binna Burra in Lamington National Park in the CERRA world heritage area is staffed by the Natural History Association on weekends. The volunteers go through an accreditation program at Binna Burra so that they can give accurate, comprehensive information. The Natural History Association also produced a pamphlet about the rainforest track for visitors who want a self-guided tour.

6.41 The Committee observes that volunteers often have a deep-felt attachment to and love for their local world heritage area and are willing and keen to give enormously of their time and effort in presenting the area to visitors. Their commitment to their area is also seen in the formation of 'Friends' groups. The Committee notes, however, that capitalising on this source of assistance and enabling volunteers to contribute as presenters and educators (as well as in other capacities) requires that sufficient staff from the managing agency are available to direct and monitor the volunteers' activities. While accepting that finding suitable volunteers to work in areas that are remote from large centres of population is difficult, the Committee was disappointed that in general little use had been made of volunteers in other world heritage areas. More use can be made of volunteers to present and educate the public about world heritage areas. The talents of volunteers can be further utilised to save on resources and funding in world heritage properties. Volunteers can be given adequate knowledge of world heritage areas, as other guides are. The Committee recommends that:

Presentation and education techniques

6.42 The different presentation and education techniques that are widely utilised by management in world heritage areas include signage and the world heritage emblem, publications and information centres with interpretive displays. Examples of these were found in most world heritage areas. However, the Committee found that the adequacy of presentation and education facilities varied from area to area. Mr Dutton from the Southern Cross University noted in his submission that there is little uniformity in how world heritage areas are presented to the public - 'management standards are uneven and there is little uniformity of presentation of WHA material to park visitors or to the broader community'. [50] An evaluation report of world heritage management arrangements produced by DEST found that 'the level of implementation of Australia's obligations under the Convention for the presentation of WH areas ... has been quite patchy between properties'. [51]

6.43 One of the largest interpretative facilities is operated by the Education and Aquarium Branch of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The cultural and visitor centres at Kakadu and Uluru also provide a high standard of interpretation, although the Committee noted when visiting Kakadu that there was only one display devoted in any detail to the area's world heritage status. In comparison, Fraser Island and the Riversleigh Fossil Mammal Site did not have adequate facilities for the presentation and education of world heritage values. These presentation and education facilities are discussed further below.

Signage and the world heritage emblem

6.44 The world heritage emblem symbolises the interdependence of cultural and natural properties. The central square is a form created by man and the circle represents nature; the two are intimately linked. The emblem is round, like the world, but at the same time it is a symbol of protection. The world heritage emblem is illustrated in Figure 6.1. The Convention states that properties included in the world heritage list should be marked with the world heritage emblem in a way that does not visually impair the property in question. [52]

Figure 6.1—The world heritage emblem

The World Heritage Emblem

6.45 The Operational Guidelines include a section on the production of plaques to commemorate the inclusion of properties in the world heritage list. The function of the plaques is to inform visitors to the site that it has a particular value which has been recognised by the international community. Also, the plaques should inform the public about the Convention, the world heritage concept and the World Heritage List. The following guidelines were adopted by the World Heritage Committee:

6.46 An issue which came to the Committee's attention while inspecting world heritage sites was the lack of signage. The Committee saw many signs that did not draw attention to the fact that the sites in question were part of a world heritage area. This was noticeable, for example, in Kakadu and parts of the CERRA property. Mr Howard of the New South Wales NPWS agreed that signage is an issue that needs consideration:

6.47 Mr Charters from Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island also felt that more funding was needed from the Government to provide signs which included the world heritage emblem and world heritage information. Mr Charters stated that:

6.48 DEH acknowledged that, in some cases on Fraser Island, sign design is inappropriate for the environment and some signs are inaccurate and unhelpful. However, the Great Sandy Region management plan indicates that by or before 2010 Fraser Island will have a system of signs to provide interpretation and direction to visitors. [56]

6.49 Another example of ineffective signage is at the Riversleigh Fossil Mammal Site. To date the only display or information at the Riversleigh world heritage property is a sign which was provided in 1988 by the Australian Geographic Society. The sign provided useful information to D Site, which is the most accessible fossil sites at Riversleigh. The sign has now faded and is difficult to read. Apart from this sign, nothing has been done to facilitate or effectively guide visitors to points of significance at the site. [57]

6.50 The Committee found little evidence of general signage bearing the world heritage emblem around some of the world heritage areas. Signage with the world heritage emblem is an important means of drawing attention to the fact that a property has world heritage status. Information about a property's world heritage status should be complemented by the surrounding text on the sign, which will lead to an understanding of world heritage. Furthermore, the Committee considers that more should be done to give a sense of continuity in a disjointed world heritage area such as the CERRA property. The Committee recommends that:

Publications

6.51 The Commonwealth Government, through DEST, has prepared and disseminated a wide range of material to promote Australia's world heritage properties, its obligations under the Convention and the world heritage concept. The material is disseminated to the general public, business and other institutions and includes posters, information kits, a newsletter and a monitoring report on the status of world heritage areas. [58] Since DEST presented its submission to the inquiry, a new suite of public information materials on world heritage was released. Two new publications have come from the Department: one dealing with the process of world heritage listing and what that means, and a second describing each of Australia's world heritage properties.

6.52 The managing agencies of world heritage areas produce publications about the values of their areas. For instance, Queensland's DEH produces brochures and publications on Fraser Island's history, wildlife, forestry and geography, and the GBRMPA has published an array of brochures and publications about the reef and its world heritage status and values.

6.53 Non-government groups also publish material about world heritage. The Australian Council of National Trusts have fulfilled a public educational role with regard to world heritage by releasing information such as:

They have also sponsored or cooperated with publishers of books on world heritage. [59]

6.54 The Committee found that publications issued by managing agencies generally do include information about world heritage and the values of an area. It is important, though, that publications are regularly updated to reflect changes in world heritage values and the management of those values.

Information centres

6.55 A key way employed by the Commonwealth Government to present world heritage and educate the public is through funding the provision and improvement of information or visitor centres. The Committee considers that information centres should be located in or be associated with each world heritage property. It notes, however, that in some cases the centres are widely dispersed and reflect the status and management of the various parts of world heritage areas before they were included in the World Heritage List. Details of the visitor centres is included in Appendix G.

6.56 The distributed nature and multiplicity of management responsibilities for the CERRA world heritage area raise particular presentation problems. The Committee considers, however, that the Murwillumbah Visitor Centre is an example of a well situated information centre which caters to people interested in visiting the northern New South Wales and Queensland CERRA properties. The Centre is located on the Pacific Highway and has a visitation rate of 100,000 people per annum. National Park staff indicated to the Committee that about 70 percent of inquiries at the Centre are about world heritage. The then Commonwealth Department of Tourism granted $270,000 in 1995 for the Centre's redevelopment as a world heritage rainforest centre. The Centre could direct visitors to the full range of sites within the world heritage property, which would be helpful in relieving congestion in heavily visited areas of CERRA. One such area is the Lamington National Park where a consultant has advised against building an information centre within the park due to its potential to contribute further to congestion problems. The Dorrigo Rainforest Centre is an example of a well positioned information centre which caters to visitors to other CERRA properties within the region, such as New England National Park.

6.57 An information centre is located at Mount Isa, which is about four hours drive away from the Riversleigh Fossil Mammal Site. The Committee considers that it is useful to have a large information centre at Mount Isa to cater for most visitors along the highway. However, a smaller centre or information signage should also be maintained at Riversleigh for the visitors who venture to the site itself. Professor Archer, Head of the Riversleigh Research Project, claimed that many visitors will want to travel to the Riversleigh site:

The Committee is concerned that there are at present no visitor facilities at the Riversleigh site, other than a sign erected in 1988. The Committee considers that it is important to have some staffing and educational material on site. These facilities are important as they assist in protecting the site and providing information to visitors.

6.58 The Committee considers that the location of an information centre is important. The centre must be handy to the world heritage area, yet not cause congestion problems in properties nor concentrate traffic so as to exceed the area's carrying capacity. Many visitors use information centres as a starting point to obtain information before venturing into the world heritage area itself. If information centres are located on the edge of or outside world heritage properties, displays, signs and maps should educate visitors once they venture into the properties themselves. An information centre outside the boundaries of a world heritage area also assists management to control large numbers of visitors outside park boundaries, thus helping to protect the values of the property.

6.59 It is the Committee's view that information at all world heritage areas needs to be regularly monitored and up-dated to incorporate changes to the features of, and knowledge about, the properties. The information centre at Naracoorte Caves was one place that the Committee noticed as needing updated displays. The interpretive material there, which included information on fossils, timelines and cave geology, is 25 years old.

6.60 Information at Fraser Island also needed updating. Committee Members visited Fraser Island in 1994 and were disappointed at the inadequate interpretive facilities they saw. The information provided at Central Station was out of date and needed upgrading. Mr Charters from Kingfisher Bay Resort claimed that there had been no change since the Committee's visit.

6.61 There is much that can be done. The Committee visited the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and was impressed with its interpretive exhibits and well-structured tracks and boardwalks. World heritage was presented in exhibits, and a film and publications included sections on world heritage. The Committee considers that, ideally, all world heritage centres should have such educational facilities, and for large properties these facilities should be installed at each major entry point. The Committee recommends that:

6.62 Visitor information facilities represent a considerable investment of the limited resources available for the management of world heritage areas, and it would not be feasible to establish new centres and rationalise and redevelop all existing visitor centres and interpretation facilities in Australia's world heritage areas in the near future. Nonetheless, the Committee considers that the situation should be reviewed and recommends that:

Footnotes

[1] Trudie-Ann & Trevor C. Atherton, 'The Power and the glory: national sovereignty and the World Heritage Convention', The Australian Law Journal, vol 69, August 1995, p 646.

[2] Australian Conservation Foundation, submission (number 35), attachment 1, p 2.

[3] UNESCO, Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972, p 2.

[4] National Parks Association of New South Wales, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 161.

[5] Tourism Council Australia, submission (number 73), pp 2-3.

[6] New South Wales Government, submission (number 66), p 7.

[7] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, transcript, 31 August 1995, p 112.

[8] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 327.

[9] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 97.

[10] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, transcript, 28 August 1995, p 79.

[11] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 22.

[12] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, submission (number 68), p 2.

[13] Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Kakadu National Park Plan of Management, 1991, p 112.

[14] New South Wales Government, submission (number 66), p 7.

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

[16] Australian Conservation Foundation, submission (number 35), attachment 1, p 2.

[17] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, submission (number 68), p 3.

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

[19] Mr David Haigh, submission (number 16), p 3.

[20] Mr David Haigh, transcript, 15 November 1995, pp 227-8.

[21] Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, submission (number 84), p 1.

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

[23] 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 8.

[24] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Strategic Plan, 1994, p 23.

[25] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, transcript, 27 November 1995, pp 292-3.

[26] J F. Whitehouse, Managing Multiple Use in the Coastal Zone: A Review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, 1993, p 123.

[27] National Trust of Australia, submission (number 48), p 9; Mr McColl, submission (number 27), p 2; Tourism Council Australia, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 304.

[28] National Farmers' Federation, transcript, 27 November 1995, p 314.

[29] Atherton & Atherton, p 648 (see footnote 1, Chapter 5).

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

[31] IUCN, submission (number 14), p 2.

[32] Wet Tropics Management Authority, Annual Report 1994-95, p 29.

[33] H Hocking, World Heritage Significance and Values: a Survey of the Knowledge of the Tasmanian Community, Consultant's report to Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania, January 1994.

[34] 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, p 62.

[35] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, submission (number 68), p 3.

[36] Wet Tropics Management Authority, Draft Wet Tropics Plan: Protection through Partnerships: Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Wet Tropics Management Authority, Cairns, October 1995, pp 96, 109.

[37] Thoorgine Educational & Cultural Centre Aboriginal Corporation, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 217.

[38] Australian Committee for IUCN, The Richmond Communique, p 8 (see footnote 23, Chapter 6).

[39] Wet Tropics Management Authority, Draft Wet Tropics Plan, p 96 (see footnote 35, Chapter 6).

[40] Letter from the Wet Tropics Management Authority dated 4 May 1995.

[41] Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Annual Report 1994-95, p 22.

[42] Julian Barry, 'Enhancing protected area management through indigenous involvement: the Uluru model', paper prepared for the World Heritage Managers Conference, Ravenshoe, Queensland, April 1996, p 2.

[43] Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Annual Report 1994-95, pp 19-20.

[44] Queensland Government, Great Sandy Region Management Plan 1995-2010, 1994, p 142.

[45] House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment, Recreation and the Arts, Working with the Environment: Opportunities for Job Growth, November 1994, p 119.

[46] Commonwealth Department of Tourism, National Ecotourism Strategy, 1994, p 49.

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

[48] Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Annual Report 1994-95, p 46.

[49] Wet Tropics Management Authority, Annual Report 1994-95, p 16.

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

[51] Evaluation Report: World Heritage Management Arrangements, Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, November 1995, p 12.

[52] UNESCO, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, February 1996, paragraph 123.

[53] UNESCO, Operational Guidelines, paragraph 127.

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

[55] Mr Tony Charters, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 207.

[56] Queensland Government, Great Sandy Region Management Plan 1995-2010, 1994, p 143.

[57] Professor Mike Archer, submission (number 70), p 20.

[58] Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, submission (number 62), p 19.

[59] National Trust of Australia (Victoria), submission (number 48), pp 2-3.

[60] Professor Mike Archer, transcript, 1 November 1995, p 170.

[61] Mr Tony Charters, transcript, 15 November 1995, p 213.


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