Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications
Answers to questions on notice
Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio
Budget Estimates, May 2013
World Heritage Listing for the Burrup
Senator Ludlam asked:
Senator LUDLAM: In the interests of time, because I have one other question on a different matter, could you provide us in writing and on notice any other information regarding the Commonwealth's policy on World Heritage listing for the Burrup? I have framed that very broadly. Anything at all you can tell us beyond the fact that you have put the ball back into the court of the Murujuga association
On 2 March 2011, the former Minister advised the Senate he would instruct the Australian Heritage Council (the Council) to undertake an assessment of the outstanding universal value of the Dampier Archipelago and any threats to the site. The Council's report is available on the department's website at http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/ahc/national-assessments/dampier-....
The Council's report indicates that the site potentially has outstanding universal value against two of the world heritage criteria, including the possible significance of the place to living Aboriginal people. It recommends that further consultation with the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Dampier Archipelago be undertaken to identify the continuing significance of the place to living Aboriginal people before any potential world heritage nomination.
As a first step, the former Minister has proposed that the continuing significance of the place to Traditional Owners and Custodians be considered as a possible additional national heritage value. This could inform any future World Heritage nomination to include recognition of their living culture.
Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (a representative body of the five interested Aboriginal groups including Wonggoottoo) has advised departmental officers that the Traditional Owners and Custodians may be supportive of research into the cultural significance of the place. The department will continue to work with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation on defining the scope of the research and is also exploring avenues for funding under the conservation agreements with industry.
This research should assist the Commonwealth in any possible future endeavour to obtain the agreement of the Western Australian Government for an eventual nomination of this important place. In the meantime, the listed National Heritage values of the Dampier Archipelago will continue to be acknowledged and protected under Commonwealth environment law.