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13 October 2008
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett today announced more than $13 million for World Heritage projects in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific at the Pacific Islands World Heritage Workshop in Cairns.
Addressing the workshop via video-link, Mr Garrett said the funds included:
"This Government is committed to World Heritage and to the safekeeping of our region's extraordinary World Heritage places.
"The Rudd Labor Government is determined to make sure our World Heritage properties are more resilient to impacts of climate change and introduced pests so we can ensure these valuable resources are conserved for future generations.
"Australia has a rich and diverse representation of World Heritage properties, including the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park, the Tasmanian Wilderness and the iconic Sydney Opera House, all of which are tourist destinations for people across the world and provide substantial economic benefits."
Welcoming representatives from nations across the Pacific Islands to the Workshop, Mr Garrett said Australia also had an international responsibility to World Heritage.
"All nations in the Pacific region must work in partnership and share knowledge and expertise to protect exceptional sites for the global community and Australia is significantly supporting that effort.
"The Pacific, rich in both cultural and natural wonders, is the least represented region in the world with only three World Heritage-listed properties.
"During the workshop, experts from Australia, New Zealand and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre will provide practical advice and training in managing and assessing places that have, or may have, World Heritage values."
The Pacific Islands World Heritage Workshop is jointly hosted with the New Zealand Government and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, with the support of the World Heritage Fund. The Australian contribution to the workshop is part of the Australian Government's contribution of $1 million to the World Heritage Centre to help build World Heritage capacity in Pacific Island Countries.
Mr Garrett said Australia's appointment as Vice-President of Asia-Pacific for the World Heritage Convention at the World Heritage Committee meeting in Quebec in July, was clear recognition of our leadership in world heritage, particularly in this region.