SOC noted by Committee: Australian Natural Sites
IUCN provided additional information on the situation of World Heritage sites in Australia. The Bureau at its twentieth extraordinary session recalled that Australia is a leading State Party in the protection and enhancement of World Heritage. It took note of information provided by IUCN on potential threats at a number of World Heritage sites in Australia, including salt mining at Shark Bay, logging in adjacent areas of the Tasmanian Wilderness, uranium mining at Kakadu National Park, and the opening of nature reserves at the Great Barrier Reef to fishing and development. IUCN stated that - due to lack of sufficient resources - it was not possible to prepare detailed reports on any of these sites. However, resolutions on two of the sites passed at the World Conservation Congress held in Montreal, Canada, in October 1996 were tabled.
The Delegate of Australia regretted that these reports were not available. Australian authorities report regularly on all their World Heritage areas. She provided information that the Federal Agencies had been restructured and that Australian World Heritage would be strengthened as a result. The Delegate of Australia informed the Committee that the reports received by IUCN were in some cases inaccurate or incomplete and that Australia has taken a number of steps and actions to mitigate the decribed threats to World Heritage Areas. She underlined that Australia had no essential problems with resolutions concerning Australian World Heritage sites passed by the World Conservation Congress held in Montreal, Canada, in October 1996 since most of the proposed actions were already undertaken.