Monthly Archives: February 2014

Explainer: why is World Heritage important?

Two of Australia’s World Heritage listed places have made the headlines in the last week. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority gave the go-ahead for silt from a government-approved dredging operation to be dumped within the World Heritage listed park boundaries. And the federal government announced that it was seeking to have a recent extension of Tasmania’s World Heritage listed forests partially overturned.

What is World Heritage listing and why is it important?

Back in 1972, various international bodies united to draw up the World Heritage Convention. It was designed to provide a way for international co-operation to occur to protect cultural or natural places of ‘outstanding universal value’ so that future generations may enjoy them as we do now. It is administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Australia was an early adopter of the Convention, ratifying it in 1974 and signing up the nation’s first ‘property’, Kakadu, in 1981. Australia even has its own Act of parliament to protect World Heritage properties, which was established in the battle for the Franklin Dam back in 1983….


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