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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
8 April 1998
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has reaffirmed the Howard Government’s strong commitment to protecting Australia’s World Heritage areas.
Senator Hill has responded to the “Managing Australia’s World Heritage” report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment, Recreation and Arts.
Senator Hill says the report is a constructive contribution to ensuring that Australia provides best practice management to its 13 World Heritage properties.
“The findings of the report are generally consistent with the Government’s own priorities for World Heritage management. Since coming to office, we have already made substantial progress in addressing the matters it raises.
“The Government has recognised the need to boost the resources for World Heritage management. Through the Natural Heritage Trust we will provide an extra $39.7 million for management of World Heritage properties to the year 2000-01.
“In the final year of the Labor government (95/96), $10 million was provided for state-managed World Heritage areas. This financial year, the Howard Government has committed $18 million.
“We have also channelled a greater proportion of the funds available for management into the implementation of priority on-ground projects identified in management plans.”
Senator Hill says the Government is committed to further improving standards of management of World Heritage properties.
“The Government has accepted almost all of the recommendations contained in the Committee’s report. We are also seeking better management and protection of these unique natural assets through the review of Commonwealth environmental legislation.
“The management of World Heritage areas has been clearly identified under this review as a matter of national environmental significance. Under the new legislation, the Commonwealth will retain its responsibility to protect these areas while laying the groundwork for more effective cooperation with the States over management issues.”
Senator Hill says he expects the legislation will be ready to be introduced into the Parliament in the next sitting session.
Media contact - Matt Brown on 026 2777640 or 0419 693515
April 8, 1998 35/98