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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

24 March 2003

Australia's World Heritage Nominations on Track for Success


Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, welcomed news that Melbourne's historic Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens will be assessed for World Heritage listing.

"The World Heritage Committee last week accepted Australia's nomination to have the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens assessed this year for World Heritage listing," Dr Kemp said.

"I am delighted the nomination has cleared this first hurdle in the rigorous international assessment process and am very hopeful this remarkable building, in its garden setting, will join the 14 other Australian places that have achieved the pinnacle of international heritage recognition.

"The Royal Exhibition Building, set in Melbourne's Carlton Gardens, is one of the world's great enduring monuments to the International Exhibition movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which expressed the confidence and expansion of the Industrial Age. The Royal Exhibition Building in its garden setting is one of the last tangible, symbolic representations of this significant historical period.

"World Heritage listing of this extraordinary place would for the first time recognise post-European-settlement and built heritage as part of Australia's rich and internationally important heritage."

Museum Victoria's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Patrick Greene, added: "The Royal Exhibition Building is a jewel in the collection of Museum Victoria, standing alongside the striking contemporary architecture of the Melbourne Museum. This remarkable building is a microcosm of Australia's history and is a dramatic landmark in Melbourne that we are proud to conserve and manage."

Dr Kemp said the Howard Government has a deep and ongoing commitment to World Heritage with two places – Purnululu National Park and The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens – currently under consideration for World Heritage listing. The Government has already succeeded in listing the Greater Blue Mountains area in 2000.

"The Shadow Minister's reporting of the World Heritage Committee's meeting in Paris last week is wrong. Australia's efforts to ensure the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention are consistent with that Convention, signed by Australia in 1974, are supported by many countries.

"Labor's claims that Kakadu National Park was listed 'in danger' by the World Heritage Committee is also quite incorrect. The World Heritage Committee, in 1999, rejected 'in danger' listing of Kakadu and in 2000, agreed the Jabiluka project does not threaten the outstanding natural values of Kakadu National Park."

High-resolution photographs and PDF files of the World Heritage nomination for the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens are available at: www.ea.gov.au/heritage/whatsnew.

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

Commonwealth of Australia