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A critical examination of the World Heritage nomination, listing and management procedures in Australia

Barnett, Guy 1994 , 'A critical examination of the World Heritage nomination, listing and management procedures in Australia', Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis demonstrates that the nomination and listing procedures and subsequent
management of World Heritage areas in Australia are grossly inadequate and in
need of reform.
The thesis intends to establish the ambiguity of the provisions of the Convention
Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (hereinafter
referred to as the 'Convention') and the inconsistency that exists between it, the
operational guidelines and Australian domestic legislation. It argues that the
implementation of the Convention into Australian domestic law has caused a
limitation of the rights traditionally attributed to the states in Australia's federal
system of government. The consequences of the Federal Government ratifying
more than 2000 international treaties without a rigorous review process is
considered. It demonstrates that the resulting disintegration of the sovereignty of
the States vis—à—vis that of the Commonwealth is a major factor that has caused
political disharmony. It concludes that the traditionally held rights to manage land
use and protect the environment traditionally held by the States and Territories have
been dissipated by the Commonwealth Government's use of its powers pursuant to
section 51(xxix) of the Constitution, and in particular, the increasing number of
international treaties and conventions. In addition, it demonstrates that the
Australian Commonwealth Government has not fulfilled its responsibilities as
provided in specific articles of the Convention.
The thesis explores the substantially inadequate provision made within Australia's
legal and administrative framework for certain, coherent and transparent World
Heritage nomination, listing and management procedures. The framework is
inadequate to balance equitably the competing interests in World Heritage areas.
The critical examination of the World Heritage nomination, listing and management
procedures takes place in the context of a country with a little more than 200 years
of development since white settlement, and a country rich in natural beauty and
resources. It explains that during the prosperous 1970s there was an upsurge of
public interest in the conservation and preservation of Australia's natural
environment. The conservation and preservation of certain parts of Australia's
natural environment had a significant detrimental economic impact and caused
considerable social and community disharmony. It shows that World Heritage
listing subsequently became perceived as a divisive act undertaken primarily for
political purposes.
This thesis attempts to demonstrate that the nomination, listing and management of
World Heritage areas in Australia should be viewed in a political context and not a
purely legal and administrative context. It contends that the inadequacy of the legal
and administrative framework, together with the changing constitutional
ramifications enhanced the political nature of decisions by the Commonwealth
Government relating to World Heritage. It argues that the law has served a
primarily political function.
The thesis is designed to show the substantial misunderstanding of "heritage" in
Australia. It shows that the misconception of the national estate was and is
perpetuated to the detriment of a fair and correct understanding of World Heritage.
It demonstrates that this misconception has been cultivated to enhance the green
lobby's own political agenda.
A review of the Tasmanian political and electoral system is included. This review
explores the inextricable link between the political and electoral system and the
nomination, listing and management of World Heritage areas. In this context, the
history and background of the green lobby's growing influence over the
implementation of World Heritage nomination listing and management is discussed.
It shows that most World Heritage areas are owned by State Governments but some
areas are privately owned. Those with an 'interest' in these areas are the State
Governments, private individuals or companies, and yet the management of these
areas remain, primarily, subject to the directions of an oft perceived far—removed
Commonwealth Government. The studies explain how the processes for
nomination, listing and management have resulted in antagonism between the
Commonwealth and the States (generally those governed by an opposing political
party), in addition to antagonism between the Commonwealth and the various
competing interests, particularly the forestry and mining industries and the
recreational land users.
World Heritage is something in which all Australians should be proud. But because
the process for nomination, listing and management is so inadequate, it is open to
abuse for political purposes. It is hoped that, through the reform of, both, firstly,
Australia's treaty making and ratification procedures and, secondly, the legislative
and administrative process for nomination, listing and management, we can
substitute a divisive concept for one of which we, as Australians, can be deservedly

Item Type: Thesis - Unspecified
Authors/Creators:Barnett, Guy
Keywords: World Heritage Convention (1972), Environmental law, Land use, Land use
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1994 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (LL.M.)--University of Tasmania, 1995. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 245-252)

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