Tasmanian Wilderness (Australia) (C/N 181quinquies)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1982
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/181/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/181/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
March 2008: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission.
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Potential construction of a dam (issue resolved)
- Commercial logging in areas adjacent to the World Heritage property
- Road construction projects
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/181/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015
On 28 January 2015 the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/181/documents/.
The following information is presented in the report:
- Work has commenced on a survey of cultural attributes in the property, in consultation with the Aboriginal community, and records are being upgraded. It is anticipated that a final report will be presented to the Committee in 2018;
- Information is provided that cultural sites are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and also under the Aboriginal Relics Act 1975 (Tas), and that since 2010 six Aboriginal cultural heritage specialists are employed by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment to work across Tasmania, including in the property;
- A review of the management plan of the property is expected to be completed in 2015, with public comment currently being sought. A consultation process has also been established with Aboriginal people. The draft management plan is available online;
- In 2014 the Tasmanian Government started an Expression of Interest process for the development of tourism infrastructure within national parks and reserves, including the property. A total of 37 Expressions of Interest were received and evaluated by an Assessment Panel which provided recommendations on the proposals to the Tasmanian Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage. 13 March 2015 was mentioned as a deadline by which the Minister would have invited selected proponents to submit a more detailed proposal;
- A range of issues associated with past use has been identified in the areas added to the property in 2013, including forestry and hydro-electricity infrastructure, in particular roads. A comprehensive audit of the rehabilitation requirements for these areas is required to guide future management efforts;
- Information is also provided on measures to address a number of threats affecting or having potential to affect natural values of the property, including climate change, invasive alien species, biosecurity issues, and pests and diseases.
The draft retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (SOUV) has been prepared by the State Party, but will not be submitted for consideration of the Committee at its 39th session for reasons described below.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies
The reported actions undertaken by the State Party to address the issues previously identified by the Committee are noted. The Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre have also made an initial review of the draft management plan.
The draft management plan and the expression of interest process for tourism infrastructure development raise a number of concerns, which require further consideration by the World Heritage Committee. A number of changes that are being proposed in the draft management plan would appear to directly threaten the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including:
- A Wilderness Zone is no longer included as one of the Management Zones under the draft plan and has been renamed as the “Remote Recreation Zone”. Wilderness character of the property has been recognized as a fundamental part of the property’s OUV, with the proposed Statement of OUV recognizing that “Geological and glacial events, climatic patterns and Aboriginal occupation have combined to produce an exceptional landscape, renowned for its high wilderness qualities.” A “Remote Recreation Zone” does not appear to adequately encompass the wilderness character and traditional occupation of the property proposed in the draft retrospective SOUV.
- The plan appears to create potential for logging operations in the property. It is proposed within Regional Reserves and Conservation Areas that form part of the property, enabled through the enactment of the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forestry Industry) Act 2014, which annulled the Tasmanian Forest Agreement Act 2013. The draft management plan would permit extraction of special species timber in the Recreation Zone, Self-Reliant Recreation Zone and Remote Recreation Zone and states that: “The objectives of regional reserves and conservation areas, as set out in Schedule 1 of the NPRMA [National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002], provide for the harvesting of special species timber. Special species timber is defined within the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forestry Industry) Act 2014 and includes blackwood and timber of any other species or timber with particular properties as may be prescribed through the associated regulations”.
Additionally, the draft management plan notes that the property includes areas classified as Future Potential Production Forest Land (FPPFL) under the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forestry Industry) Act 2014. Areas of FPPFL which are unallocated Crown Lands are not subject to the management plan and are managed under the Crown Lands Act 1976 and in accordance with the Forestry Act 2014.
- Potential for extractive industry in the property appears to be created by the plan. The above-mentioned Schedule 1 to the NPRMA also states that the purposes of reservation for the areas designated as Regional Reserves include “mineral exploration and the development of mineral deposits”. It needs to be recalled that the World Heritage Committee has repeatedly reiterated its position that mineral exploration and exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status.
- The draft management plan also enables development of commercial tourism infrastructure, including in the Remote Recreation Zone. Access to the property by aircraft is permitted at designated locations in all four management zones.
- ICOMOS considers that there is as well a fundamental difficulty in creating a plan for which the cultural attributes have not been clearly defined. As a planned survey of cultural attributes is not due to be completed until 2018, the draft plan is not based on a clear identification of the cultural attributes. It should be recalled that the World Heritage Committee has repeatedly called for definition of the cultural value of the property. In the absence of such identification, and in the light of the proposed fundamental changes of direction, the management plan cannot be seen as a document that sustains the OUV of the property.
- The established public consultation process also raises some concerns as it is stated that “the draft plan may not be amended if a representation contradicts planning proposals for which there is widespread support”.
In addition to the above, the draft management plan proposes that consideration would be given to renomination of the property as an Aboriginal Cultural Landscape, with a possible new name for the property in line with the Tasmanian Government’s Aboriginal and Dual Naming Policy. If this were to be retained in the management plan, further clarifications on the implications for the World Heritage property, as currently inscribed, would need to be provided to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.
Based on the above analysis it is recommend that the Committee urge the State Party to make necessary changes to the proposed management plan to ensure that an adequate protection and management regime is in place to sustain the property’s Outstanding Universal Value in the long term and to ensure that work on completely identifying cultural attributes is undertaken as soon as possible and earlier than 2018 if possible.
ICOMOS considers that the current draft retrospective SOUV that has been submitted to the World Heritage Centre does not include adequate detailed information on the cultural attributes for the whole property, or of their protection and management, as requested by the Committee at its 38th session (Decision 38 COM 8B.47), and that these should be added before the Statement is reviewed.
It is also recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in order to review and provide advice for the survey of cultural attributes, the completion of the retrospective SOUV, and the revision of the management plan, prior to any moves to finalize the latter, and to assess the state of conservation of the property as a whole. It is further recommended that the mission provide support to the State Party for the finalization of the retrospective SOUV.
Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.35
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
- Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.36, 37 COM 8B.44, and 38 COM 8B.47, adopted at its 36th (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) and 38th (Doha, 2014) sessions respectively;
- Expresses its concern that substantial progress has not yet been made on the survey of cultural attributes requested since 2013, and that its completion is not foreseen until 2018, and urges the State Party to ensure this work is undertaken as soon as possible, and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS;
- Reiterates its request to the State Party to:
- Undertake further study and consultation with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community in order to provide more detailed information on the cultural value of the property and how these relate to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV),
- Provide detailed information on the legal provisions for the protection of cultural heritage in the extended property,
- Provide detailed information on the management arrangements for cultural heritage and, in particular, for the control of access to archaeological sites and sites of cultural significance;
- Also urges the State Party to review the proposed new management plan for the property to ensure that it provides adequate protection for its OUV, including:
- Recognition of wilderness character of the property as one of its key values and as being fundamental for its management,
- Recognition of the cultural attributes of OUV, as also fundamental for its management,
- Establishment of strict criteria for new tourism development within the property which would be in line with the primary goal of protecting the property’s OUV, including its wilderness character and cultural attributes;
- Further urges the State Party to ensure that commercial logging and mining are not permitted within the entire property, and that all areas of public lands within the property’s boundaries, including Regional Reserves, Conservation Areas and Future Potential Production Forest Lands, have a status that ensures adequate protection of the OUV of the property;
- Requests the State Party to secure adequate funding for the management of the property, taking into consideration the extension of the property as approved by the Committee at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013);
- Takes note of the proposed retrospective Statement of OUV (SOUV) that has been submitted by the State Party, and also requests the State Party to include additional information in the Statement, to ensure that it reflects accurately the cultural attributes of the property, and further requests the State Party to resubmit a revised draft of the retrospective SOUV to the World Heritage Centre for review, as soon as possible;
- Requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint IUCN/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in order to review and provide advice for the revision of the management plan, prior to any decision to finalise the plan, on the survey of cultural attributes and on the re-drafting of the retrospective SOUV, and also to assess the state of conservation of the property as a whole;
- Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, and including an electronic and three printed copies of a revised draft management plan that is considered to adequately protect the OUV of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.