1.         Purnululu National Park (Australia) (N 1094)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (vii)(viii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1094/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1094/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports


Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1094/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

The State Party provided a report to the World Heritage Centre dated 8 March 2005 in response to the Committee’s request.  The State Party reports on the following key areas:

Possible impacts of mining activities: The State Party reported that the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act as the federal law, provides comprehensive protection for World Heritage and other significant heritage places in Australia.  The report noted that the EPBC Act regulates any proposed activity that may have a significant impact on a World Heritage property, regardless of how far the proposed activity may be from the World Heritage property.  It also noted that the Panton Platinum Palladium mining project mentioned in the IUCN evaluation report, which would have been located approximately 60 km west of the property, has not proceeded. 

Addition of areas to the property:  The report noted, as per the request of the Committee, that in December 2004 the Western Australian Government determined that 61,817ha of pastoral lands adjacent to the Purnululu Conservation Reserve, be added to the conservation reserve in 2015, when the current pastoral leases expire.  It noted that negotiations are now under way to facilitate the early surrender of these lands.  The State Party stated that these additions will strengthen the protection of the outstanding universal value for which Purnululu was inscribed on the World Heritage List. 

Funding and staffing of the property: The State Party reported that a range of upgrading and construction work at the property has been undertaken including, car parks, water supply, and accommodation for Ranger staff, tourist facilities and facilities for traditional owners.  These works were agreed in consultation with the indigenous customary owners.  The report further noted that tourism management at the property has been undertaken involving the key tourist operators and the indigenous customary owners. 

Managing the cultural values of Purnululu National Park:  The State Party reported that the current Management Plan for the Park is under review and it is due for renewal in 2005.  The report noted that this is a statutory obligation, and the revised Management Plan will incorporate cultural aspects of the property.  The report further noted that the new plan may take two to three years to be completed, given the EPBC Act’s comprehensive statutory planning and community consultation requirements. 

IUCN noted that there are no issues or threats to the property associated with current or proposed mining activities.  The only mining development of concern at the time of inscription has not proceeded.  Legislative provisions and associated regulations appear adequate to deal satisfactorily with any future threats from mining impacts.  It noted that the intention to add pastoral lease land to the Conservation Reserve is positive and consistent with IUCN recommendations for diversifying the protected areas and improving the buffering of the World Heritage property.  There are impacts from incursions of stock from unfenced surrounding farmed lands, requiring constant management vigilance and intervention.  There has been considerable progress in the provision of improved visitor facilities, and some good developments in co-operative management with tourism operators.  IUCN further noted that the report from the State Party did not provide information on the required increases to staffing and resourcing of the property as was raised by the 27th session of the Committee (UNESCO, 2003).  IUCN is concerned that additional infrastructure development will place additional demands on recovery.  It stressed the importance of giving consideration to adding the Purnululu Conservation Reserve to the National Park since the management regime of the reserve is consistent with that of the Park.  Further protection of surrounding land to improve the buffering of the World Heritage area should be undertaken where the opportunity exists, including watershed catchments impacting the property and staff levels should be increased to ensure effective management of the World Heritage values of the property.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7B.11

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2. Recalling its Decision 27 COM 8C.11, adopted at its 27th session (UNESCO, 2003),

3. Commends the State Party of Australia for its continued commitment to address the conservation concerns of the property and for providing a detailed report of ongoing and planned measures;

4. Recommends that the State Party take all the necessary measures to further protect surrounding land and improve the buffer zone of the World Heritage property where the opportunity exists and consider adding the Purnululu Conservation Reserve to the National Park;

5. Further recommends that the State Party provide adequate staffing and financing levels to ensure effective management of the property and updates the management plan of the Park, including sustaining traditional Aboriginal communities in the Park, an approach to ways of sustaining intangible qualities, and an appraisal of approaches to ethnographic, sociological and oral recording of intangible and tangible cultural traditions;

6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2008 a report on progress made on the state of conservation of the property assessing the specific issues raised above, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session (2008).