Heritage of Humankind A Call for Reform of World Heritage Protection and Management in Australia
AbstractAustralia is a nation rich in natural heritage, from the Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforests of the north, to Ayers Rock and the Olgas in the centre, and south to the forest wilderness of Tasmania. Many of our areas of natural heritage are not only of national significance, but are also considered to be of outstanding universal value, and have been listed as "world heritage"2 pursuant to the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage 1972 ("the Convention"). Given the onerous obligations cast by the Convention upon its State parties to protect and conserve properties with the status of the heritage of humankind, one might expect that our natural world heritage areas would be subject to a sophisticated management regime, incorporating best practice management techniques and principles recognised at the international level. As has been highlighted by the recent Hinchinbrook cases, however, the regime for world heritage protection and management in Australia has fallen far short of these lofty goals.
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