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Media Release
Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads
Manager of Government Business in the Senate
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

16 July 2004

First Nationally-Listed Indigenous Heritage Place wins greater profile and protection


The first Indigenous heritage place to be included on Australia's new National Heritage List is one of the country's largest ever aquaculture ventures and one of the earliest, the incoming Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell said today.

Announcing the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape at Lake Condah in Victoria's south-west as one of the first three places on the nation's premier heritage list, Senator Campbell said it offered an important opportunity to discover an aspect of Indigenous life centred on sophisticated cultural use of the environment.

"At Budj Bim thousands of years ago the Gunditjmara people built a highly sophisticated system of weirs, channels, water races and fish traps so they could grow and harvest fish, particularly eels," Senator Campbell said.

"This complex piece of engineering remains visible today and covers an area of more than 100 square kilometres.

"It includes groups of circular stone huts. These show that rather than being a nomadic people, the Gunditjmara provided food for a large settled population. The enterprise is a wonderful example of a complex trade and social system established between and among Indigenous Australians."

Senator Campbell said the Gunditjmara people had nominated the place for National Heritage Listing to share the remarkable story of the place with all Australians.

"The story of the Budj Bim landscape represents another page in the story of Indigenous Australia, a story that has developed over 60 000 years and is one of the great chapters in the history of the human race," he said.

Senator Campbell also announced that the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument in western Queensland and the Royal Exhibition Building National Historic Place in Melbourne would join Budj Bim as the first places on the National Heritage List.

"These places are important inclusions on the new National Heritage List which will grow to include the outstanding natural, cultural and Indigenous places and stories that make the country distinctively Australian," he said.

"New laws and a new system of management, forged in consultation and partnership with the owners and managers of these places, ill ensure that they endure."

Senator Campbell said nominations included the Sydney Opera House, South Australia's Parliament House, the Barlings Beach Aboriginal site in NSW and New Farm Park in Queensland.

The independent advisory body, the Australian Heritage Council, assesses nominations on these national heritage values.

The Council has 12 months to assess places against stringent criteria before making their report.

Further information on the new National Heritage List and the first listings, can be found at www.deh.gov.au/heritage/whatsnew including high-resolution images suitable for print.

Commonwealth of Australia