1. Indigenous value: Natural and cultural values are interwoven, diverse and abundant in Cape York. Managed for tens of thousands of years by traditional owners, it is truly one of the last great Aboriginal homelands on earth. The Cape's traditional Indigenous cultures and languages reflect the incredible diversity of this environment – revealing a rich expression of human interactions with nature tens of thousands of years old.
When significant parts of Cape York Peninsula are listed as a World Heritage Area in recognition of the region’s extensive natural and cultural values - we've reached our goal. The Wilderness Society advocates a mixed World Heritage nomination of natural and cultural values, with a strong focus on cultural landscapes. One large encompassing area is optimal for protection and management across the natural values and ecological systems of the region.
It is the Wilderness Society's policy that we will only support a World Heritage nomination that has the consent of Traditional Owners. The process to determine whether there is consent from the relevant Traditional Owners should be afforded the necessary support and resources from the federal and state governments, with reasonable timeframes set in which Government can be sure it has informed agreement of the Traditional Owners.
Securing political and community support for Cape York World Heritage protection will mean that the federal government must be a strong national and international champion of our campaign outcomes. At a state level, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and the LNP must back the World Heritage program because of the Commonwealth resources that would be made available if traditional owners agree a World Heritage nomination. At the state and national level, strong community awareness and support for World Heritage, gives state and federal governments a mandate to act.
It is critical that values are protected across significant areas of the Cape to support climate adaptation. Giving these areas the best chance to continue thriving for generations to come should be a priority
Ecosystem-based climate change solutions may present particularly important and exciting economic development opportunities for regions such as Cape York Peninsula, including as a result of emerging carbon markets and indigenous carbon farming industries.
A World Heritage listing would be a fantastic outcome for the people, lands, waters and wildlife of Cape York Peninsula, but Traditional Owners of the region must consent before any nomination is made. It is has been their land for tens of thousands of years and the choice is ultimately up to them.
You can help us achieve World Heritage in Cape York Peninsula. Donate to the Wilderness Society today and be a part of something incredible for Australia.