Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Protecting the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area

Media release
26 May 2012

The Gillard Government will establish a community advisory committee to help protect the iconic Ningaloo Reef – home to the world’s largest fish, the whale shark.

Environment Minister Tony Burke made the announcement today while celebrating the one year anniversary of the Ningaloo Coast’s World Heritage listing at the Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival.

“The Ningaloo Coast is one of the most magnificent parts of the world’s oceans,’’ he said.

“So often when you go to the beach, there is heaps of life on land and it becomes sandy and much less diverse when you go into the water. At Ningaloo it’s the exact opposite where vast barren land bursts into colour and life as you go into the water.

“It is recognised as a World Heritage Area for its diverse and abundant marine life, amazing cave fauna and the spectacular contrast between the colourful underwater scenery and the arid and rugged land of the Cape Range.

“The striking land and seascape tells a dramatic story about the formation of oceans, movement of continents and changes in our climate and it is critical the area is protected into the future.

“Each year coral spawning at Ningaloo Reef attracts the largest migration of whale sharks anywhere in the world. With more than 200 kilometres of spectacular coral reef off a rugged limestone peninsula, the Ningaloo Coast is a stunning and unique contrast between reef and arid landscape.

“The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Advisory committee will allow community members, including traditional owners, to play a role in the protection and stewardship of the Ningaloo Coast.

“With the support of a World Heritage project officer, the advisory committee will play a pivotal role in protecting the outstanding universal value of the Ningaloo Coast that led to its inscription on the World Heritage List.”

The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area covers more than 600,000 hectares and stretches for more than 200 kilometres.

The Gillard Government has provided $455,000 to the Western Australian Government for the appointment of a World Heritage project officer and establishment of an advisory committee.

In addition to funding for the advisory committee, a further $496,000 has been allocated towards feral animal control at Ningaloo to reduce threats posed to threatened species and habitats.