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World Heritage Committee approves CERRA name change.



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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon John Cobb MP Assistant Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

The Hon Phil Koperberg MP

New South Wales Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water

The Hon Lindy Nelson-Carr MP Queensland Minister for the Environment

28 June 2007

WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE APPROVES CERRA NAME CHANGE

The 31st session of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Christchurch New Zealand, has approved the new name Gondwana Rainforests of Australia for the former Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia (CERRA) World Heritage site.

The Australian, New South Wales and Queensland Governments have welcomed the name change and believe it will help reflect the property’s World Heritage values whilst also giving it a more vibrant function in the life of the community.

Assistant Minister for the Environment and Water Resources the Hon John Cobb MP said the new name demonstrates the links to the ancient Gondwana supercontinent and in turn highlights the important values of this World Heritage Area.

“Few places on earth contain so many plants and animals whose ancestors can be traced through the fossil record and today remain relatively unchanged,” Mr Cobb said.

“The development of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia name involved a rigorous assessment process including public and agency consultation across the states.

“It has also been endorsed by local tourism organisations and the property’s representative stakeholder committees as well as a broader cross-section of the Australian public.”

New South Wales Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water the Hon Phil Koperberg MP said the change of name was carefully considered to evoke the link between current rainforests that have evolved from those of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana.

“Gondwana Rainforests is one of the most readily accessible World Heritage properties in Australia, with easy access from many centres between the Hunter Valley north to the Gold Coast in Queensland.

“One only has to experience the silent majesty of a gnarled Antarctic beech (Nothofagus) laden with emerald moss to get a sense of what it may have once been like all those millions of years ago.”

Queensland Minister for the Environment the Hon Lindy Nelson-Carr also highlighted the importance of the World Heritage values of the area.

“The new name is strong and dignified and readily conveys the prehistoric aspects of these ancient rainforests. Hopefully it will enhance the public profile of this magnificent World Heritage property,” Ms Nelson-Carr said.

“The forests of the supercontinent Gondwana were dominated by species of two ancient genera: Nothofagus and Araucaria. This World Heritage Area best represents the places in Australia where these two genera continue to exist together.”

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While it is acknowledged that the components of Gondwanan heritage are widespread within Australia and around the globe, the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage property maintains strong evolutionary links with its Gondwanan origins and has a justifiable claim to use the name.

This announcement comes as Australia celebrates the inscription of its 17th property to the World Heritage List. The Sydney Opera House today was recognised as one of the outstanding places on earth when the UNESCO World Heritage Committee inscribed it to the list.

Further information visit, www.environment.gov.au/heritage

Media Contacts:

Assistant Minister Cobb’s office Tom Chesson 0418 415 597

Department of Environment and Climate Change Lawrence Orel (02) 6641 1559 Minister Nelson-Carr’s office Karla Steen (07) 3336 8004