Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Study to help identify cultural values in Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

Media release
19 June 2013

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke today announced funding for a study to help identify cultural values in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Mr Burke said this Government has been passionately committed to improving the recognition of cultural values and giving Aboriginal communities a level of ownership in identifying cultural values.

“Within the world heritage nominated boundaries, there are many sites of deep cultural significance,” Mr Burke said.

“The nomination currently before the World Heritage Committee ensures these sites are protected and the future addition of cultural values will ensure they are appropriately and sensitively managed.

“Since its inscription on the World Heritage List, the Australian Government and Tasmanian Governments have managed the property as a mixed property with important cultural values that have special meaning to Aboriginal people.

“There are known sites of Aboriginal cultural heritage value recorded within the proposed boundary modification and information from the Tasmanian Government suggests these sites are broadly comparable and complement those sites already within the property.

“However, further work is required to better understand and articulate how these sites, especially those in the proposed boundary modification, contribute to the Tasmanian Wilderness’ Outstanding Universal Value.

“The study will be designed and undertaken in close consultation with the Aboriginal community in Tasmania.

“This funding builds on recent communication with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community earlier this year and will provide for a consultation and based on the full agreement and engagement with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. 

“It is hoped that the study will document the cultural values of the property and how they contribute to its Outstanding Universal Value.  Following agreement by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community the study will be forwarded to the World Heritage Committee in February 2015.”

If accepted by the World Heritage Committee, the Australian Government’s proposed boundary for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area will add over 170,000 hectares to one of Australia’s most remarkable and outstanding natural world heritage environments.