30 May 2024

$1.2m for TO consultation as World Heritage tentative listing submission nears finalisation

| Lyndon Keane
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The State Government says it anticipates having a tentative World Heritage listing for parts of Cape York, expected to include Quinkan Country around Laura, ready to submit to the federal Minister for Environment and Water within a few months. Photo: Lyndon Keane.

The Queensland Government is only a month or two away from submitting its tentative list of potential Cape York World Heritage sites to its federal counterpart.

Online and face-to-face community information sessions were delivered in Laura, Coen and Cairns earlier this month, with more than 70 stakeholders, including Traditional Owners, conservation groups, landowners and Cape York elected leaders, involved in the process.

The information sessions followed a series of Traditional Owner consultation meetings facilitated by the Cape York Land Council (CYLC), which was paid $1.2 million to co-ordinate on behalf of the government.

There has been wide-ranging concern over what a World Heritage listing of parts of Cape York would look like, with a Department of Environment, Science and Innovation spokesperson admitting the make-up of locations was still being finalised.

READ ALSO Phone call causes further confusion over ‘secret squirrel’ World Heritage consultation

“Locations to be included in the tentative list submission are still to be finalised,” they told Cape York Weekly following the information sessions.

“The World Heritage Centre requires only one or more GPS points for tentative listing; a full World Heritage nomination will require boundaries around areas that have the appropriate consent to be included.

“A full World Heritage nomination would be for the most important cultural landscapes on the [Cape York] Peninsula, not the whole Peninsula.”

The spokesperson said the nomination process would require the “participation and free, prior and informed consent” of all stakeholders with interests in the proposed sites.

“We are working with some Traditional Owners who have previously been interested in World Heritage, and only considering areas that are under Indigenous ownership, or already part of Queensland’s protected area estate for tentative listing,” the spokesperson said.

“A future World Heritage nomination process will require the participation and free, prior and informed consent of all who have rights and interests in potential areas, including Traditional Owners, landowners, industry, councils and other stakeholders.

“Locations in the World Heritage area will have a management system that will be negotiated with all relevant parties, and will form part of a future World Heritage nomination.”

READ ALSO Letter from the Editor: World Heritage journey leaves genuine stakeholders at a roadside stop

Weipa Town Authority Chair Jaime Gane was one of the stakeholders who participated in a community information session and said she believed the way the tentative listing consultation process had been undertaken had caused undue suspicion.

“They are trying to have the existing national parks listed, but the requirement for a single GPS mark to apply for a tentative listing had everyone nervous,” she said.

“I think that they definitely could have been a bit more forthcoming with information about their intentions and the process.

“I know now that they only consulted with the Traditional Owner groups of the national park areas to ensure that they were comfortable having the application for tentative listing made with a GPS mark on their property.

“Had they made a statement at the outset explaining it all, I don’t think people would have been so suspicious.”

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