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Cape York World Heritage would provide new opportunities

World Heritage recognition of Cape York Peninsula’s outstanding natural and cultural values would help communities on the Cape achieve greater prosperity, according to the Australian Conservation Foundation.

“Regional communities and governments have been talking for more than 20 years about protecting Cape York’s best natural and cultural values and nominating them for World Heritage recognition,” said ACF’s Cape York Program Officer Leah Talbot.

“By participating in building the management plan for the nominated areas all stakeholders, including pastoralists, Indigenous organisations and land management enterprises, will be able to make sure their interests and rights are protected.

“Traditional Owner consent is central to the World Heritage process because Cape York is a living cultural landscape.”

World Heritage properties around Australia generate more than $7 billion in economic activity every year.  In Queensland alone World Heritage sites contribute more than $4 billion in economic activity and provide nearly 25,000 direct and related jobs (ref: Gillespie Economics & BDA Group's 2008 study of Economic Activity of Australia’s World Heritage Areas).

ACF maintains Federal and State governments should support a potential nomination by providing an appropriate economic package for the Cape York region that includes:

  • Facilities to support increased tourism and associated industries
  • Assistance to help new businesses get off the ground
  • Sealed roads and wet-season access bridges
  • Conservation infrastructure to support cultural and natural resource management.

“ACF will continue to respect the views of indigenous groups and community organisations on the Cape regarding the World Heritage nomination,” Ms Talbot said.

“We believe World Heritage can provide substantial opportunities, including significant funding opportunities, for Traditional Owners and the non-Indigenous communities of the Cape.”