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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

02 February 2002

Purnululu Nominated for World Heritage Listing


Australia has formally nominated the spectacular Purnululu National Park in the isolated east Kimberley region of Western Australia for World Heritage Listing with UNESCO in Paris.

Announcing this today, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp said, "This fascinating region deserves international recognition as a significant part of the earth's heritage. We are nominating it as a cultural landscape with outstanding universal natural and cultural values.

"It includes the distinctively-banded orange and grey sandstone towers of the stunning Bungle Bungle Range, with its spectacular domes, gorges and wet season waterfalls. Before 1982, when aerial pictures were first released, it was virtually unknown except to pastoralists, scientists and the local Aboriginal community. It is now seen as one of the scenic jewels of outback Australia.

"Culturally, the region is very special as the Aboriginal traditional owners maintain their connection to their country as an integral part of their lives. Only two of the 721 World Heritage listed sites include such places. Both of these are in Australia - Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

"The nominated area contains rock art sites, plus hundreds of other archaeological sites including stone quarries, burial sites, sites scattered with other artefacts and others which contain records of contact with Europeans.

"If the World Heritage Committee accepts this nomination, Purnululu will be a worthy addition to Australia's existing 14 World Heritage places."

The Minister said that the Government announced late last year that it proposed to nominate Purnululu for World Heritage listing. The Government of Western Australia has been consulted and strongly supports the nomination. The assessment process will take about 18 months and will include on site assessments and international comparisons, before a decision by the World Heritage Committee in June 2003.

For further information:

Contacts:
Minister's Office: Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648400
Australian and World Heritage Division: Kevin Keeffe 02 6274 2015 or 0418 774469

Web sites:
Purnululu Fact Sheet, nomination document & photographs: http://www.ea.gov.au/heritage/awh
The World Heritage List: http://www.unesco.org/whc/nwhc/pages/doc/main.htm

Commonwealth of Australia