World Heritage bid for Cape York Peninsula has been delayed after Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke failed to submit a nomination before the 1 February deadline.
However, this delay means there is more time for Traditional Owner groups to be consulted over a future World Heritage nomination, raising the possibility of a more substantial nomination being submitted by July this year before the upcoming federal election.
World Heritage nomination
Minister Tony Burke has been very clear that a World Heritage nomination will not proceed without the consent of Traditional Owners.
As a result, The Wilderness Society is calling for World Heritage consultation to be given priority over fast-tracked state planning processes and the expansion of mining in the region.
With at least nine new mines proposed for Cape York Peninsula, World Heritage protection for the Cape’s world class natural and cultural values could not come soon enough.
In a recent submission to the Queensland State Government we stressed that the Wild Rivers legislation is a crucial component in keeping Cape York’s incredible natural and cultural values intact.
Without suitable protection for the interconnected cultural landscapes of the Cape, including its river systems and wetlands, biodiversity on a whole would be compromised.
Since the 2012 Queensland state election, the Newman government has made no secret of the fact that it plans to repeal the legislation in favour of wide-scale development over protection of natural values and processes.
We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on the Statutory Regional Plan and the Bioregional Management Plan that the Newman Government intends to use to replace the declarations.
What does the future hold?
With strong support from Traditional Owners who have undertaken their consultation processes to achieve consent, there is no reason that Minister Burke couldn’t support Traditional Owners who want to protect their country in a World Heritage nomination.
World Heritage would finally give Cape York Peninsula the level of protection it truly deserves alongside the management and development options that would provide for the long term health of the region.
The Wilderness Society is continuing to advocate for a World Heritage nomination that comes with the consent and active participation of Traditional Owners.
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