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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts

Announcement of the inclusion of the Kimberley in the National Landscape's program; Kimberley Strategic Assessment; National Heritage Assessment of the Kimberley

Doorstop Interview, Pinctada resort, Cable Beach, Broome, WA
E&OE Transcript
12 April 2010

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GARRETT: Today's really important because describing the Kimberley as a National Landscape and putting the effort in to the let people know what an incredibly important part of Australia this is, because of its natural values, its cultural values, and its great scenic qualities. It means that more people will come to this region, that will provide appropriate economic growth for the region, but it will also be done in way which is well managed, which involves the local communities, Aboriginal people, tourism operators. And for the Kimberley to be on the National Landscapes List is an absolute natural - this is the best of best that Australia has to offer - and the Kimberley is definitely that.

QUESTION: Do you think it will translate into practical benefits for local people?

GARRETT: Look I'm absolutely sure, as my colleague Minister Ferguson has said, that one of the great attractions for people coming to the Kimberley will be Indigenous tourism, and cultural tourism opportunities. I know that all along the communities here are very willing, and aware well prepared to take advantage of what National Landscapes will bring.

QUESTION: Is it worth maybe National Heritage Listing even?

GARRETT: Well that's a matter that is underway, and a process that must run its full course. No doubt that the Kimberley is very special, no doubt that its values - cultural values, natural values - are of a very high order,and the Government recognises that, particularly today by putting the Kimberley on the National Landscapes List, but also by conducting a Heritage Assessment to see whether additional values that can be protected and identified by the Commonwealth.

QUESTION: Mr Garrett, some people of a slightly cynical nature in the Kimberley have noticed that areas being targeted for resource developments have been excluded from National Heritage Listing. Is that a coincidence? Or has there been some sort of planning here that they are not going to be classified as heritage listed?

GARRETT: Well heritage listing doesn't affect existing use, and the area that's been identified for the Heritage Assessment has been done on the basis of advice received by the Heritage Council, which has to look at this at arms length from the Minister. And it does this on the basis of the values that it identifies. Now we've got a process of consultation underway, it will be thorough, it will be one which takes into account all views of stakeholders, and on that basis then we'll make a final decision.

QUESTION: So it's not a coincidence - it is a coincidence that James Price Point has been excluded from that?

GARRETT: Well, it's a consequence of the fact that the Heritage Council has brought forward a potential map for the identification of heritage values which doesn't include James Price Point.

QUESTION: You've just talked about appropriate economic development [inaudible] does that make your decision pretty tough [inaudible]?

GARRETT: I say this every time I come into the North West: I'll make my decision about any proposal under the national environment legislation on the basis of advice that I receive. I'll listen carefully to the views that are put to me by stakeholders, by the community, by Aboriginal people, by local councils and others. But most importantly I'll take the advice on the basis of whether there will be significant impacts on matters of national environment significance. Until such time as that assessment is concluded I don't propose to say anything more about this particular development.

QUESTION: Maybe the end of the year? They've said the decision from you will probably come at the end of the year now? It was originally the middle of the year is that right, when you would expect to make a decision on that?

GARRETT: Look I'll make a decision when the advice comes through to me, and when I'm confident that I've got all the relevant information that I need in front of me. If it takes a little bit longer than expected that's not a bad thing, the most important thing is to make sure that once a decision is made, it's made on the basis of the full provision of all the relevant information.

QUESTION: When are you expecting to receive the Strategic Assessment?

GARRETT: Again that'll be a matter for the Department to bring forward to me what the final processes of Strategic Assessment deliver. I'm not going to put timelines on it. We've got indicative timeline out there, but Martin Ferguson's just pointed out that sometimes these processes take a little bit longer. It's no bad thing if it means that when you do make the decision you've got all the relevant information in front of you that you need, and you are in a position to make a fully informed and proper decision.

[ENDS]

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