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18 April 2009
The Australian Government’s investment of $60 million for heritage projects will help support local jobs and improve heritage infrastructure across the country.
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, said the funding under the government’s $650 million Jobs Fund, and will support high priority heritage projects while also generating jobs, particularly in regional areas.
“It’s my great pleasure to celebrate World Heritage Day today with this announcement of additional funding to support Australia’s heritage places, including additional funding for our World Heritage properties.
“This funding program includes a number of separate components focused on protection of National Heritage-listed places, National Trust properties, community heritage projects, including locally significant places, and natural heritage projects.
“The natural heritage component includes at least $8.6 million for natural heritage places, particularly directed at supporting Australia’s World Heritage sites. This is in addition to existing Commonwealth funding provided to ensure these places of outstanding universal value are protected.
“This significant investment in Australia’s historic, Indigenous and natural heritage will provide economic stimulus by focusing on projects that have an immediate employment impact as well as ongoing economic benefits. It will also provide much-needed support for community groups and organisations involved in heritage projects across Australia.”
Mr Garrett said one of the key criteria for assessing projects for funding would be that they create jobs - both now and into the future, with projects required to provide ongoing social and economic benefits to the community, for example by boosting tourism, or by improving access to, and use of, a community heritage place.
“In both the immediate and long-term, this will benefit urban, regional and rural communities, by enhancing and taking greater advantage of the social and economic value of our heritage places.
“Local businesses will also benefit by providing not only the specialist technical skills but also the materials required to undertake these heritage works.
“The program will commence immediately, with $6 million of the total $60 million for heritage to be spent in the 2008/09 financial year, ensuring an immediate benefit to communities.
“Importantly, the program will include both public and targeted calls for proposals. This will ensure that nationally significant projects can commence immediately, while also providing local communities with access to funding to support locally significant heritage projects that are ready to commence and provide immediate local employment opportunities.
“This funding provides a unique opportunity to enhance our existing and irreplaceable heritage assets and help secure a stronger, more resilient economic, social and environmental future for our country,” Mr Garrett said.
On 18 April, the global community celebrates World Heritage Day. To date, 878 places from across the globe have been included on the World Heritage List. 17 of these belong to Australia and include: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Kakadu National Park, Great Barrier Reef, Wet Tropics of Queensland, Fraser Island, Lord Howe Island Group, Greater Blue Mountains, Willandra Lakes, Shark Bay, Purnululu National Park, Australian Fossil Mammal sites (Naracoorte and Riversleigh), Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, Tasmanian Wilderness, Macquarie Island, Heard and Macdonald Islands, Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, and the Sydney Opera House.