Environment Minister Greg Hunt says Cape York Peninsula won’t be nominated for a World Heritage listing this year, but discussions are ongoing.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt hasn’t ruled out nominating far north Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula for a World Heritage listing.
However, he says any nomination would need to be supported by “all parties” – especially the indigenous communities.
A nomination will not be put forward this year because Mr Hunt says there isn’t consensus within the communities on the issue.
“We have always been working towards a listing based on the best of the best once there is broad community agreement,” he said, referring to the fact specific areas are being considered rather than a blanket listing.
“Consultation is ongoing but the last thing I would want to see is something imposed on indigenous communities without their consent.”
His comments were made following media reports which said Mr Hunt planned to shelve the idea indefinitely.
This year’s nominations for World Heritage listings, handled by the United Nation’s environment arm, close on February 1.
The indigenous community is divided over whether the peninsula should gain World Heritage status.
Some say it will boost tourism and protect the environment, while others fear it could restrict development in the region.
Andrew Picone, from the Australian Conservation Foundation, says the federal government shouldn’t rule out nominating Cape York.
“World Heritage recognition for Cape York Peninsula will stimulate economic and employment opportunities, as it has done in the Wet Tropics and along the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.
Wilderness Society Northern Australia campaigner Gavan McFadzean urged Mr Hunt to tentatively nominate the peninsula on behalf of those traditional owners that want it.
This would give communities another year to decide whether to proceed with the nomination.
“With at least eight new coal, sand and bauxite mines proposed for Cape York Peninsula … the future of the cape’s natural and cultural values is being decided right now.”
Comment has been sought from Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell’s office.