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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

13 October 2002

Australia's Outstanding World Heritage Highlighted


Two new publications, launched today in Melbourne by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, reveal the outstanding universal values of Australia's fourteen World Heritage places.

Speaking today at the launch of the booklet and poster Dr Kemp said Australia's World Heritage areas are all very different, but they have one thing in common-they're on the list of the most significant heritage places on earth.

"They're spread across the extraordinary range of Australia's natural and cultural environments, from our subantarctic islands, to the wet tropics of our far north and to the arid regions of our red center," Dr Kemp said.

"World Heritage listing doesn't come easily. To achieve it a site has to have some outstanding qualities: it has to be vital for conserving biological diversity; or have exceptional scenery; be an extraordinary example of ongoing geological or ecological processes; or have unique cultural or historical value.

"Many of Australia's listed places have all or most of these qualities.

"Australia is exceptional. It is the oldest continent on earth and features some of the planet's most remarkable remaining natural areas. Added to this are cultural sites more than 40 000 years old, telling the story of living traditions that are important for all humankind."

Some of these wonderful places are household names: Kakadu with its rugged landscapes, expansive wetlands and Aboriginal art; the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest living organism (and its largest World Heritage property); Uluru- Kata Tjuta, an instantly recognizable Australian icon, sacred to Aboriginal people; and the Blue Mountains, a distinctive eucalypt landscape synonymous with the Australian bush and Australia's most recent addition to the World Heritage List.

"Australia is proud to be recognized internationally for its leading role in promoting the work of the World Heritage Convention. Over the last six years the Commonwealth Government has committed over $450 million towards improving the management and protection of its World Heritage properties," Dr Kemp added.

"I am proud to launch this booklet and poster so that people from Australia, and, indeed, from around the world, can share our magnificent heritage. It is our shared responsibility to conserve our World Heritage places now and for the future."

The booklet is available at: www.ea.gov.au/heritage/whatsnew

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia