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7 November 2008
One of nation's most outstanding and breathtaking mountain landscapes, the Australian Alps, has today been awarded Australias highest heritage honour with its inclusion in the National Heritage List.
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett said the Australian Alps National Parks was the largest and most complex National Heritage assessment to date, encompassing 1.6 million hectares of national parks and reserves across eleven national parks and nature reserves in the ACT, NSW and Victoria.
"Known as the High Country in Victoria, Snowy Mountains in New South Wales and the Brindabella Range in the Australian Capital Territory, the listing of the Australian Alps National Parks recognises the outstanding natural, Indigenous and historic values of this iconic landscape," Minister Garrett said.
"The high altitude peaks, some rising above 2000 metres, and plateaus, glacial lakes and alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems of the Australian Alps are rare in our mostly flat, dry and warm continent.
"The Alps are home to the snow gum and unique alpine species like the mountain pygmy possum, as well as in the summer months providing spectacular arrays of alpine wildflowers.
"The distinctive snow covered slopes of the Australian Alps provide a playground for broad-scale snow recreation in the nation.
"It was evident through the assessment that the Australian Alps have a strong association with community groups and a special association with prominent figures of importance in Australia's natural and cultural history.
"The Australian Alps are an important place of dreaming and gathering for Aboriginal people and of recollection and discovery as former grazing land once traversed by stockmen, gold prospectors, pastoralists, migrants and botanists of early settlement."
Minister Garrett said a cooperative process had been in place since 1986 to collectively manage and protect the Australian Alps National Parks across NSW, Victoria and the ACT and today's listing adds to and strengthens the protective measures available to this special place.
"Places on the National Heritage List are afforded protection under the Australian Governments Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and we will continue to work together with NSW, Victoria, and the ACT to ensure the protection and proper management of the outstanding heritage values of the Australian Alps National Parks," Minister Garrett said.
Ministers responsible for the cooperative management and protection of the Australian Alps National Parks across NSW, Victoria and the ACT declared that National Heritage listing would provide increased recognition for this special place.
"Namadgi National Park plays an enormous role in the lives of Canberrans, from the provision of Canberra's water supply to a place of relaxation and recreational activities such as bushwalking and mountain bike riding," ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said.
Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Gavin Jennings, welcomed the listing stating it will bring greater recognition for Victorias High Country.
"On behalf of Victorians, I welcome the greater recognition of the unique natural, Indigenous and cultural wonder of the High Country. We are proud of the work we have done together to manage and protect the Alps national parks so that they can continue to be enjoyed and appreciated."
NSW Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Carmel Tebbutt was delighted with the National Heritage List status of the Australian Alps.
"For the people of New South Wales the majestic Snowy Mountains have long been a place of outstanding natural beauty and a key part of our colonial heritage. The Australian Alps well and truly deserve their place on the National Heritage List," Ms Tebbutt said.
Mr Garrett said appreciation, recognition and protection of our investment in our National Heritage sites is essential as they are important to our history, our future and to the local economy of many parts of Australia.
"Our National Heritage listed places contribute to national and local tourism with hundreds of thousands of people from across Australia and the world making the journey each year to see our precious landmarks and experience our unique landscapes.
"We will continue to work together with State and Territory Governments to ensure the protection and proper management of the outstanding heritage values of our National Heritage listed places.
"It is vital that we continue to identify and protect the places integral to Australia's national story, as they help us remember and understand that we are part of a living history."
There are currently 80 places in the National Heritage List, reflecting the story of our development, from our original Indigenous inhabitants to present day, Australias spirit and ingenuity, and our unique living landscapes such as Bondi Beach, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Kakadu National Park and Port Arthur.
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