Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
Factors affecting the property in 2000*
- Ground transport infrastructure
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2000
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2000**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2000
New information: IUCN has informed the World Heritage Centre that the company Naturelink has put forward plans for a 22km cableway, which will be capable of carrying 900 people/hour from Mudgeeraba (just west of the Gold Coast) across forest areas up to the very famous Purlingbrook Falls. The proposed cableway will cross many ‘wilderness areas’ and will run through the centre of about 3km of primary wet sclerophyll forest. Conservationists are concerned that the decision to proceed with the cableway construction is being primarily driven by commercial considerations and environmental impacts are not being adequately addressed. The proposed cableway will be clearly visible from several “wilderness” lookouts and will be very visible as it enters and cuts across the World Heritage section of the area. The presence of its final station near the falls will be obvious both from a visual and acoustic perspective. IUCN believes that the cableway represents an important threat to the integrity of this World Heritage site.
The Bureau invites the State Party to consider the issues raised by IUCN and provide an up-to-date report on the proposed cableway construction project, its potential impacts on the integrity of the site and steps taken by the Government to mitigate such impacts to the twenty-fourth extraordinary session of the Bureau in November 2000.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2000
A draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Naturelink Cableway project was released in June 2000. Public comments on the draft EIS are currently being considered. An assessment report on the EIS will be submitted to the Queensland Co-ordinator General who will take a decision as to whether or not the project can proceed.
The project has been referred to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, who will advise whether or not he believes the project is a controlled action in accordance with the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999. No decision has been made on this issue to-date and environmental assessment procedures are underway. IUCN has reiterated its concern in relation to the potential impact of the cable car project on World Heritage values and drawn attention to similarities between this project and the cable car proposal at Morne Trois Piton National Park of Dominica. In the case of the latter, the State Party, following the recommendations of the Committee decided to relocate the site of construction of the cable car to areas outside the boundaries of the World Heritage property.
In its letter dated 15 September 2000, the State Party has informed the Centre that it will keep the Centre informed of progress in its review of the cable car project proposal.
Summary of the interventions
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2000
24 BUR IV.B.26
Central Eastern Australian Rainforest Reserves (Australia)
IUCN informed the Bureau that it had received information on private sector proposals for a 22km cableway which would, if implemented, cross part of the World Heritage area and have potential negative impacts. IUCN pointed out that similarities exist with the cable car proposal at Morne Trois Pitons National Park in Dominica, which was resolved satisfactorily through working in collaboration with the State Party.
The Delegate of Australia informed the Bureau that no decision concerning such a development had been taken. An Environmental Impact Statement has been prepared for public review and potential impacts are being evaluated.
The Bureau noted that the State Party will provide information to the Centre on the results of the Environmental Impact Statement for the potential Naturelink Cableway construction project, including any potential impacts on the World Heritage values and integrity of the site, and the legislative framework designed to protect these values. The Bureau requested that this report be submitted by 15 September 2000 for information to the twenty-fourth extraordinary session of the Bureau.
24 COM VIII.24
World Natural Heritage Properties of Australia
VIII.24 World Natural Heritage Properties of Australia
Shark Bay, Western Australia
Great Barrier Reef
The Secretariat informed the Committee that a letter on the recent grounding incident was received from the Australian authorities on 28 November 2000 and that a report will be presented to the twenty-fifth session of the World Heritage Bureau in 2001.
Central Eastern Australian Rainforest Reserves
Wet Tropics of Queensland
The Bureau may wish to adopt the following and transmit it to the Committee for noting:
“The Bureau notes that assessments on environmental impacts of the cable car construction project are currently underway and invites the State Party to submit to the Centre, before 15 April 2001, an up-date on the findings of such assessments and any decisions made regarding the project proposal.”
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).