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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
5 December 1999
Australia's spectacular World Heritage areas will be on show next year with Cairns to play host to the 2000 meeting of the World Heritage Committee.
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said Australia's offer to host the December 2000 conference was accepted by the Committee at its meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco overnight.
Senator Hill named Cairns as host city, giving hundreds of delegates and visitors a first hand opportunity to experience at least two of Australia's outstanding World Heritage areas.
"Cairns is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland's Wet Tropics, providing us with an excellent opportunity to showcase Australia's exemplary standards in World Heritage management," Senator Hill said.
"Cairns is also well placed to profile World Heritage management in the Asia-Pacific Region and we hope that delegates from countries in the region will be able to more easily attend the meeting and associated activities.
"Australia is committed to upholding and implementing the principles of the World Heritage Convention and is globally recognised as a leader in implementing world's best practice in managing these unique areas.
"Australia has a long and proud history of involvement in World Heritage issues and was among the first nations to ratify the Convention in 1974. We're the only country in the world with specific world heritage legislation which will be further strengthened next year with the implementation of the new Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
"We have more natural world heritage sites than any other nation and hosting the Committee's major annual meeting will be an opportunity to further demonstrate our commitment," Senator Hill said.
The World Heritage Committee is responsible for implementing and managing aspects of the World Heritage Convention. In addition to the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics, Australia has eleven other World Heritage Areas. They are Shark Bay, Lord Howe Island, the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves, the Tasmanian Wilderness, the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Naracoorte and Riversleigh), Kakadu National Park, Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park, Macquarie Island, Fraser Island, The Heard and McDonald Islands Group and the Willandra Lakes Region.
5 December 1999 Media contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582.