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21 December 2006 - Heritage status for Australias pristine natural wonders       

Heritage status for Australia’s pristine natural wonders

Sydney, 21 December 2006                                      
                                                                                                                           

Humane Society International (HSI) has this week nominated some of Australia’s most scenic, remote and unspoilt natural areas for listing on the National Heritage list. These nominations are a natural progression of the precedent set last week by the Federal Government when they announced the listing of 5 national parks on the National Heritage list, the first ever listings of natural places.

“We have nominated outstanding conservation areas for Heritage listing including the Fitzgerald River-Ravensthorpe Range, and the Beekeepers-Mount Lesueur-Coomallo area, both in WA, and both globally recognised hotspots of biological diversity by Conservation International, the largest conservation group in the world” said Mr Kennedy, HSI Director.

“We are also calling for the listing of a number of Heritage rivers under the EPBC Act. One of Australia’s most magnificent and pristine Wild Rivers, Prince Regent River Nature Reserve, has been nominated for its significance as probably the most important temperate ecosystem reserve in the world” added Mr Kennedy. “Add to this the Brisbane Water National Park, an integral part of a national park network in the Sydney Basin that is considered one of the most species rich places in Australia, and we have a system of pristine and diverse natural heritage places that rivals anywhere else in the world.”

These are all places that are already on the Federal Government’s radar as areas of vast natural, indigenous and cultural significance. The Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage has named the Fitzgerald River and Mt Lesueur areas as biodiversity hotspots of national significance. The Prince Regent River Nature Reserve is an outstanding conservation area rich in Aboriginal history and sites, and Brisbane Water National Park is the perfect compliment to the recently listed Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, being so closely linked both physically and ecologically.

“We are fortunate in Australia to have such intact areas of natural beauty, immense biological diversity, and indigenous significance, and we must take decisive steps to protect them” said Mr Kennedy. “These nominations focus on places that are exceptional, not just in Australia, but also on a global scale. These listings will make what are in effect State Parks into real National Parks.”

The process for nominating places for inclusion on the National Heritage List is being vastly altered in the New Year following changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. HSI is asking Senator Campbell to commit to assessing these places that exemplify Australia’s natural, cultural and indigenous heritage, for protection under the EPBC’s powerful heritage provisions.





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