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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
24 October 2006
Australia will mark the 25th anniversary of its first World Heritage Listing with the unveiling in Melbourne of a special photographic exhibition of the nation's 16 listed sites.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, launched the exhibition at Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building - Australia's most recent addition to the World Heritage List.
Mr Hunt announced the Australian Government would provide $450,000 to enable the exhibition to be shown at the World Heritage sites around the country.
"This exhibition is a celebration of our world class heritage," Mr Hunt said.
"The images provide a window into some of the most outstanding places on Earth. I hope it fuels peoples' drive to explore our great country.
"Australia has long recognised the importance of preserving its rich and diverse natural and cultural heritage.
"We were one of the first signatories to the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage.
"Over the last 10 years, the Australian Government has provided more than $110 million to the states and territories towards improving and managing our World Heritage properties. This is in addition to funds provided directly to Commonwealth managed sites.
"World Heritage sites are places of such outstanding significance that their qualities are universal. "The first Australian sites - the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park and the Willandra Lakes Region in NSW, were inscribed at the 5th session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Australia from 26-30 October 1981.
"Australia now has 16 World Heritage properties, well above the average of less than five per member country. These properties have brought international recognition of Australia's unique place in world heritage. We have much to celebrate.
"If all goes to plan, by the middle of next year our amazing list will expand with the inclusion of Sydney Harbour's 'jewel in the crown', the Sydney Opera House. A nomination for the site was submitted to UNESCO in January of this year, with a decision due in 2007," Mr Hunt said.
John Deller on 0400 496 596
Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Naracoorte) (Qld/ SA)
Offshore (Australian Government)
Heard and McDonald Islands
For more information on Australia's World Heritage sites, photos of the exhibition and a 25th anniversary commemorative book, Australia's World Heritage, visit www.heritage.gov.au.