THE Queensland Government is to consider World Heritage nomination for areas of Cape York Peninsula, a process which is expected to take several years.
It is possible for a World Heritage nomination to be submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Heritage Centre for assessment, on the condition that the nomination has consent from traditional owners and the wider community.
Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) staff working on the World Heritage nomination process are required to ensure the community understands what a nomination may mean to the region in terms of its affect on the lives of people on Cape York Peninsula.
Areas nominated for World Heritage are required to demonstrate ‘outstanding universal value’; that they are unique to the world. The Queensland Government is proposing to work with the community to identify which areas have outstanding universal values, rather than nominating the whole region for World Heritage listing.
World Heritage listed area boundaries are to be determined through scientific assessment, with informational input from the community. Interested community members are to have an opportunity to be involved in identifying the special natural and cultural areas on Cape York Peninsula and are to be involved in deciding the best ways to manage and protect these areas.
DERM has been working with two advisory committees: one advising on how to work best with the community and the other on how best to evaluate environmental, cultural heritage and economic values. These committees are advisory bodies and do not have decision making or processing powers. Any final decisions will be a process that involves Traditional Owners and the broader Cape York Peninsula community. To date the committees have provided guidance on the gathering of natural and cultural heritage information and provided ideas for engaging with key stakeholders. This information will be further developed with the help of the community, Traditional Owners and scientists with expertise in the region.
The Queensland Government states that World Heritage status can bring social and economic opportunities. However, details of specific benefits, will become apparent once the areas for World Heritage nomination have been identified and supported by the community and the management options agreed upon.
In March 2011, a letter, survey and fact sheets outling this program proposal were mailed out to more than 500 key stakeholders. Feedback from the survey is to be uploaded onto the Cape York Peninsula World Heritage web page www. derm.qld.gov.au/cape_york.
Community members are able to make inquiries on this site and register to be kept up-to-date on the process.
DERM Officers have been in communication with community members and traditional owner groups about the nomination. This will continue throughout the nomination process.
If you would like to be contacted, phone the Manager of Cape York Peninsula World Heritage Lyn Wallace on 07 4222 5261 or email consultation. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of paperbarks in water by Kerry Trapnell