Koongarra gains World Heritage Listing

In an important win, the Koongarra area within Kakadu National Park was inscribed onto the World Heritage List in June 2011. ACF, with Traditional Owner Jeffrey Lee, has worked persistently for over 30 years to have this area recognised.

Koongarra is right beside the famous Nourlangie Rock art site, in the headwaters of Kakadu's magnificent wetlands and has been threatened by mining for decades.

On 27 June 2011, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee decided to add the environmentally and culturally significant region to the World Heritage register. This was a a powerful and positive step towards the permanent protection of one of Australia’s most special places. 

Most importantly, it is a step towards protecting the area forever from the threat of uranium mining.

The Koongarra area in Kakadu includes the much-visited Nourlangie Rock (Burrunggui/Anbangbang) and features in the Rainbow Serpent and Lightning Man storylines. It is unique, magnificent, has extremely important cultural and ecological values and is surrounded by the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.

It is also home to a uranium deposit that the French nuclear and mining giant Areva has been trying to access and develop for years.

Traditional Owner Jeffrey Lee has repeatedly rejected Areva’s advances to develop a mine on his country. Prior to the 2010 federal election the Gillard Labor government promised to incorporate Koongarra into Kakadu, a commitment matched by the Coalition.

ACF's CEO Don Henry said: "The UN’s foremost natural and cultural heritage body has firmly lined up alongside the region’s Traditional Owners, the federal government and Opposition and the NT government in opposing mining at Koongarra."

The time is now right for the federal government to take the final steps to turn Jeffrey Lee’s generous vision into a lasting legacy for all time by permanently incorporating Koongarra into Kakadu National Park

ACF will continue to work with Jeffrey Lee to ensure that the next step in Koongarra’s protection is taken: that it is incorporated into Kakadu National Park.