Underwater heritage and a taxation agreement with Iceland to be considered by the Treaties Committee

Issue date: Thursday, 9 February 2023

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The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties will hold a public hearing on Friday, 10 February 2023, into the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and the Australia-Iceland Double Taxation Convention.

Committee Chair, Mr Josh Wilson MP said, “Australia has a precious trove of underwater cultural heritage, from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander underwater cultural heritage in Australian waters, to the remains of Australian ships lost in wars across the globe.”

The Convention would provide a legal basis for Australia to protect underwater cultural heritage in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, as well as areas outside of Australia’s jurisdiction where it has an interest. The Convention also represents a contemporary international standard for protecting underwater cultural heritage.

In addition, the Convention would provide a framework for the Australian Government to negotiate uniform Commonwealth, state and territory rules for protecting underwater cultural heritage.

“Having taken a significant role in drafting the Convention, it is welcome that Australia is now moving to ratify it”, Mr Wilson said. “Eminent Australians involved in underwater cultural heritage who have supported and called for this treaty action over several years, have been invited to discuss the Convention with the Committee. Their input will shed further light on contemporary challenges of protecting underwater cultural heritage, what final steps would be required by Australia for ratification, and the benefits it would bring in working with other nations who have a common interest in protecting these historic sites.”

Public hearing details

Date:   Friday, 10 February 2023
Time:   9.00 am – 10.30 am AEDT - Australia-Iceland Double Taxation Convention
         10.40 am – 4.30 pm AEDT - Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention
Location: Main Committee Room (1R0), Parliament House


The hearing can be accessed online and the programs for this hearing is available on the Committee website, along with further information about the inquiries.

Media inquiries

Mr Tim Watkin, Chief of Staff
0434 555 823

For background information

Committee Secretariat
02 6277 4002

For more information about this Committee, you can visit its website. On the site, you can make a submission to an inquiry, read other submissions, and get details for upcoming public hearings. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track this Committee’ button in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

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