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Tuesday, 29 May 1984
Page: 2093

(Question No. 643)

Senator Missen asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, upon notice, on 16 December 1983:

(1) Is the area involved with the development of roads in the Cape Tribulation National Park in north Queensland one of 28 areas included on an indicative list of potential world heritage areas in Australia.

(2) Is the production of such a list required of all State parks (including those in Australia) pursuant to Article II (1) of the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and National Heritage.

(3) Was that list developed by the Australian Heritage Commission and has the list not been made public because of some ramifications or problems relating to the Commonwealth's obligations and Commonwealth/State relations.

(4) When will the Australian Government stand up to its obligations and publish the list.

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) to (4) The World Heritage Committee has asked parties to the World Heritage Convention to indicate properties that might be nominated to the World Heritage List in the future.

The Government has yet to respond to this request. The Committee requires that a property to be included in the World Heritage List must, in the opinion of the World Heritage Committee, be of 'outstanding universal value' and its disappearance or destruction must constitute 'a harmful impoverishment of all the nations of the world'.

I am informed that the Australian Heritage Commission has considered a number of properties that might be nominated and that one of these includes the Cape Tribulation National Park.

When the Government receives the advice of the Commission and of other authorities concerned it will consider the matter. Before making any decision on the nomination of any properties to the World Heritage Committee, the Government will consult fully with State or Territory governments concerned.

Cape Tribulation National Park is included in the Register of the National Estate in recognition of its Australian significance. To meet the stringent conditions of 'outstanding universal value' for world heritage consideration the rainforest value of the Cape Tribulation area must be compared with those existing elsewhere in the world. As I indicated at the official opening of the Rainforest Conference in Cairns last February I remain to be convinced that the Cape Tribulation area warrants a world heritage nomination.