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GAMBANAN, Kimberley, WA: The Australian Conservation Foundation has warmly commended the Federal Government and Traditional Owners on the National Heritage listing of the natural and cultural values of the West Kimberley, an area nearly as large as Victoria.
"Formal recognition of the importance to the nation of the West Kimberley’s natural and cultural values confirms what many in the region and elsewhere already know – that this is a very special part of Australia that is too precious to lose to industrialisation,” said Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Don Henry.
This is Australia’s largest land-based National Heritage listing, it recognises natural and cultural values and is the first to proceed with the full consent of the Traditional Owners, making this a truly historic announcement.
"The Kimberley is a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance, with many unique ecosystems, unparalleled beauty, strong Indigenous culture and enduring connections of the Traditional Owners to their land.
"ACF congratulates the Traditional Owners of the West Kimberley on this national recognition of how special their country and culture are to all Australians and we commend the Kimberley Land Council for its tireless work in representing the Traditional Owners and helping them achieve this recognition.
"We urge the Federal Government to provide additional support for indigenous land management and sustainable development in this special part of Australia while ensuring the West Kimberley is protected from industrialisation.
ACF remains concerned about current proposals to mine coal, bauxite, uranium and iron ore in the region and to process gas on the Kimberley coastline.
"Other areas in the Kimberley, including the marine environment and parts of the Fitzroy River valley and Dampier Peninsula, also deserve National Heritage status, but they have not been fully assessed because of lack of data at this time. We will be asking the Australian Heritage Council to further examine the region for additional places and values that should be listed, with the consent of the Traditional Owners."