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World Heritage Convention

Decision 23 BUR IV.B.22
Shark Bay, Western Australia (Australia)

At its twenty-second session the Bureau was informed that a petroleum exploration permit had been granted by the State Government of West Australia (WA) for an area located within the World Heritage site. The Australian Observer assured the Bureau that no development that threatened the World Heritage values of the site would be allowed to take place. But IUCN was concerned about the granting of prospecting licences by State Governments for locations within World Heritage areas, and urged closer liaison between Commonwealth and State Governments on this matter. At its twenty-second extraordinary session (Kyoto, 1998) the Bureau was informed that a mining lease of the Shark Bay Salt Joint Venture (SBSJV) had attracted public comment but is outside of the property. Levee construction occurred outside the World Heritage area and approval for the levee construction was granted under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act of 1986 and construction works complied with the environmental requirements set by the Minister for the Environment. The Western Australian Department of Environment was satisfied with the compliance of SBSJV with the environmental conditions set for the construction phase. In accordance with a post-construction environmental requirement, SBSJV, with professional assistance from the Department of Conservation and Land Management, successfully transferred marine mega-fauna, trapped behind the levee, to open marine waters. IUCN had received a report on the state of conservation of this site from ACIUCN, and is in the process of reviewing that report. The Bureau requested the Centre to transmit the report of ACIUCN to the State Party for review and recommended that IUCN provide an up-to-date state of conservation report on this site for the twenty-third session of the Bureau.

IUCN informed the Centre that it has received information indicating that potential threats due to existing and proposed mining activities, such as shell mining, expansion of salt extraction, gypsum leases and mineral sands mining are key concerns for the conservation of this area. Other concerns include: inappropriate tourism development, visitor access to environmentally sensitive locations and the need to finalise an overall management plan for the site. ACIUCN has established a process involving key stakeholders to finalise its report on the conservation status for the Shark Bay World Heritage site.

The Bureau requested IUCN to submit an up-to-date state of conservation report on this site to its twenty-third extraordinary session in November 1999.

Decision Code
23 BUR IV.B.22
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
1999 Shark Bay, Western Australia
Context of Decision