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Monday, 11 August 2003
Page: 13111

Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 9 May 2003:

(1) Is the Minister planning to change the management structure of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area by abolishing its independent board; if so, what is the timeframe for this change.

(2) Is the Minister negotiating with the Queensland Government in relation to new World Heritage legislation; if so, what arrangements for the management of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area are being proposed in the legislation.

(3) Since the changed World Heritage funding arrangements came into effect, what has been the impact on the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area funding.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for the Environment and Heritage has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) No.

(2) I have received correspondence from Minister Wells indicating the Queensland Government is considering reviewing its legislation and management frameworks for World Heritage properties within the State.

Queensland has five World Heritage properties either partly, or wholly within its boundaries. It is the prerogative of the Queensland Government, in consultation with the Commonwealth, to review its management arrangements for the four properties it manages.

Minister Wells has indicated that Queensland will consult the Commonwealth when it has formulated proposals for the consideration of the Wet Tropics Ministerial Council.

I am waiting to see Queensland's proposals before I develop a view on the future management structure for the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage property.

(3) Arrangements for the delivery of the extension to the Natural Heritage Trust provide a comprehensive strategy for funding World Heritage management responsibilities in all of Australia's State-managed World Heritage properties.

The Commonwealth has put in place arrangements for the delivery of the Natural Heritage Trust that will allow funding contributions to flow from all streams of the Trust. I have invited state governments to co-operate in the flexible use of those arrangements to ensure World Heritage priorities are met.

This year, Commonwealth funding for the Wet Tropics has been provided from the National Stream of the Trust. However, additional funding, through the Regional Stream of the Trust, is also potentially available for the Wet Tropics this year.

In 2002/03 total Commonwealth funds available to the Wet Tropics Management Authority are $4,073,758. This is more than has been available to the Wet Tropics Management Authority in previous years.