Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2005
ISSN 1441 9335
Outcome 1 - Environment (continued)
The Department of the Environment and Heritage identifies, protects and conserves natural and cultural heritage, including Indigenous and historic heritage.
Main responsibilities relevant to this output
- World, national and Commonwealth heritage
- Indigenous heritage
- Asia–Pacific world heritage
- Historic shipwrecks
- Protection of movable cultural heritage
- Cultural heritage projects
Natural Resource Management Programmes Division
- To identify, protect and conserve Australia’s natural, Indigenous and historic heritage of national and world significance
- To support the preservation and restoration of significant heritage places across Australia
- To support the World Heritage Convention by promoting protection for natural and cultural heritage in the South East Asia–Pacific region
- To increase knowledge and enjoyment of Australia’s historic shipwreck heritage while protecting shipwrecks and associated relics
- To prevent Australia’s cultural heritage from being significantly diminished due to the export of heritage objects
- The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens in Victoria were inscribed on the World Heritage List—the first time Australian built heritage has been listed as world heritage—and also included on the National Heritage List
- A total of 11 places were added to the National Heritage List and three places were added to the Commonwealth Heritage List—these lists commenced on 1 January 2004; as at the end of 2004–05 Australia had 11 listed national heritage places and 337 listed Commonwealth heritage places
- The department helped to develop the World Heritage—Pacific 2009 Strategy
- World heritage listings
- National and Commonwealth heritage listings
- Emergency listings
- Heritage management
- Productivity Commission inquiry
Australia’s heritage contributes to our sense of national identity and shared values. Our heritage places cover natural, Indigenous and historic heritage and protecting this heritage benefits future generations as well as the present.
The Australian Government’s main legislation for protecting heritage places is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Act protects the heritage values of sites that are included on one or more lists of:
- world heritage places, whose global significance is recognised under the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (usually referred to as the World Heritage Convention)
- national heritage places, whose heritage values are of outstanding significance to the nation
- Commonwealth heritage places, which are owned or leased by the Australian Government.
The Australian Government introduced the national and Commonwealth heritage provisions of the Act in 2003; the new provisions took effect in January 2004. The government has provided additional funding to the department to help develop and implement the new arrangements, under the Distinctively Australian measure ($52.6 million from 2003–2007) and the National Heritage Investments Initiative ($10.5 million from 2005–2009).
The department manages the processes set up by the Act, provides assessment advice to the government, and advises property managers on their heritage management plans and strategies. The department also supports the Australian Heritage Council in its assessment, advice and public information and awareness activities.
Only national governments can nominate a place for inclusion in the World Heritage List. The World Heritage Committee then decides whether to list the nominated place. Australia now has 16 world heritage areas.
On 1 July 2004 the site of the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens in Melbourne was listed as world heritage. This property is the main surviving example of a ‘palace of industry’, reflecting the global influence of the international exhibition movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The property was also included on Australia’s National Heritage List. Discussions with Victoria about management arrangements are under way.
Cobblers Gully battery site, Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park
Heritage Photo Library Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park was placed on the National Heritage List in January 2005 for its outstanding value as one of Australia‘s richest collections of mining sites and landscapes, with particularly important and rare large areas relating to the early phase of the Australian gold rushes in the 1850s.
Photo: M Mohell and the Australian
Anyone can nominate a place for inclusion on the national or Commonwealth heritage lists. The Minister for the Environment and Heritage decides whether to include a place on the lists.
Before making a decision the minister must first request an assessment of the relevant heritage values by the Australian Heritage Council, an independent expert advisory body established in February 2004. The council is the government’s principal advisory body on a wide range of heritage matters, and organises public consultation on proposed listings. The council also maintains the Register of the National Estate, which the minister must, where relevant, take into account when making decisions under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The minister received 48 nominations for the National Heritage List in 2004–05. Of these nominations, 22 were processed, with the remainder currently being assessed. The minister received 11 nominations for the Commonwealth Heritage List, of which three were processed, with the remainder currently being assessed.
After the first full year’s operation of the national and Commonwealth heritage provisions of the Act, Australia had 11 national heritage places (photo opposite and map below) and 337 Commonwealth heritage places. Most of the Commonwealth Heritage List places are historic.
National heritage places
The minister can decide to ‘emergency list’ a place that may have national or Commonwealth heritage values which have come under threat. A decision to ‘emergency list’ a place is not necessarily permanent as the Australian Heritage Council must follow up any emergency listing with a detailed assessment.
During 2004–05 the minister received requests to emergency list 24 places in the National Heritage List. One request was later withdrawn. The minister rejected 19 of these requests, in most cases because there was insufficient evidence that national heritage values existed. For example on 10 December 2004 the minister rejected an emergency listing request for 13 grey nurse shark habitat areas off the east coast because they were not considered to have national heritage values.
In the remaining cases the applications were rejected because national heritage values that may have been present were not considered to be under threat in the short term. For example on 27 January 2005 the minister decided not to emergency list the Alpine National Park in Victoria because a future decision on renewing alpine grazing licences did not constitute a present threat. He subsequently listed the park under the emergency provisions when the Victorian Government confirmed its proposal to ban grazing.
The minister first exercised the emergency listing power on 17 September 2004 by deciding to include the Kurnell Peninsula in New South Wales on the National Heritage List. On 24 February 2005 the minister confirmed the listing of part of the peninsula based on the advice of the Australian Heritage Council.
The remaining two requests were still being assessed as at 30 June 2005.
During 2004–05 the minister also received two requests to emergency list seven places in the Commonwealth Heritage List. As at the end of 2004–05 no places had been emergency listed in that list.
Details of all requests and the reasons for the minister’s decisions are available from the Australian heritage database at www.deh.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/heritage_ap.pl.
Management plans for heritage places are prepared under a range of federal, state and territory legislation. The department continued to advise property managers as they developed management plans to ensure they are consistent with national heritage management principles.
In July 2004 the department reported on the high level of conservation and management of Australia’s world heritage areas to the international World Heritage Committee. Project work to support the management of Australia’s world heritage areas is partly funded through the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. During 2004–05 $8.7 million was spent from the Natural Heritage Trust, mainly on management of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area.
In August 2004 the government announced a further $6 million for protecting the Daintree region of Queensland, which includes the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area. Of this $1 million is for cassowary conservation. Project development is under way. The funding comes from the Australian Biodiversity Hotspots Programme.
Australian Government agencies must prepare a heritage strategy for their Commonwealth heritage places by 1 January 2006. The department advises other Australian Government agencies on their heritage management strategies. As at the end of 2004–05 the department had received 12 draft management plans and three draft strategies from other agencies for review.
A full report on the operation of heritage aspects of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 appears in the second volume of this set of annual reports.
In April 2005 the Treasurer announced an inquiry by the Productivity Commission into the policy framework and incentives for the conservation of Australia’s historic built heritage. The department and its state and territory counterparts are funding a study of key heritage economic and policy issues to inform input to the inquiry. The Productivity Commission will release its final report in April 2006.
The department works with other government agencies and the community to protect the cultural heritage of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. This includes supporting efforts to repatriate Indigenous remains held in collections overseas, and providing emergency protection to areas and objects in Australia of cultural significance, including traditional significance.
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage can protect places and objects that have a traditional significance for Indigenous peoples from threats of injury or desecration under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984. This ‘last resort’ protection may only be given when there is inadequate protection under state or territory laws, except in the case of Victoria, whose Aboriginal cultural heritage is protected by Part IIA of the Act.
The department also monitors compliance with a 20-year declaration under the Act for Junction Waterhole in Alice Springs. The declaration will expire in 2012.
In 2004–05 the department advised the minister on five applications continuing from the previous year, and on seven new matters. Some applications were for emergency protection and others were for longer-term protection. The applications related to an area in the Australian Capital Territory affected by the extension of Gungahlin Drive, areas in outer Perth affected by road development and a new recreation lake, an area near Broome relating to a bird observatory and an area in the Hunter Valley under coal mining development. The minister did not make emergency or longer-term declarations in response to the applications.
The Indigenous Heritage Programme supports the management, promotion and protection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. This programme was formerly the Preservation and Protection of Indigenous Heritage programme, and was transferred from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services to the Department of the Environment and Heritage on 1 July 2004.
Prior to the transfer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services allocated $3.3 million to 63 projects across Australia, which received the allocated funding during 2004–05 after the transfer. The department received an additional 143 applications for around $12 million in funding. Decisions about these applications were finalised in July 2005. Projects funded addressed identification of Indigenous heritage, the conservation of Indigenous heritage sites, small-scale Indigenous heritage related business activities, the construction of keeping places for Indigenous heritage items and the sharing of Australian Indigenous heritage.
See also: Indigenous Protected Areas Programme.
- Asia–Pacific Focal Point for World Heritage Managers
- Regional Natural Heritage Programme
- Chinese world heritage
The Australian Government is supporting the World Heritage Convention by promoting protection for natural and cultural heritage in the South East Asia–Pacific region. The department is responsible for carrying out the government’s heritage initiatives in Australia’s region. These include the Asia–Pacific Focal Point for World Heritage Managers, and the $10 million Regional Natural Heritage Programme.
The Asia–Pacific Focal Point for World Heritage Managers is a regional network of world heritage managers established to share experience, knowledge and resources between countries in the region (see www.heritage.gov.au/apfp). Through this network the department supports activities for implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Australia’s region.
During the year the department contributed to the development of the World Heritage - Pacific 2009 Strategy, an action plan for Pacific island states to conserve their heritage places and engage with the World Heritage Convention, and supported six projects. A $250 000 AusAID-funded project awarded to the department in 2002 under the Australia–Indonesia Government Sector Linkages Programme was finalised. The project, a collaboration between the department, the Wet Tropics Management Authority and the Indonesian Government’s Ministry of Forestry, has assisted Indonesia with management planning at Lorentz National Park, Papua.
Under this programme the department helps countries in the Asia–Pacific region manage sites with high biodiversity, focussing on the need to protect areas that are under threat (biodiversity hotspots). The programme is helping to conserve the habitat of some of the world’s most threatened species, such as the Sumatran tiger and Vietnam’s black crested gibbon.
The programme provides grants to non-government organisations and other agencies. Nine projects approved in 2003–04 received funding of $0.8 million during 2004–05. An additional 15 projects were approved in 2004–05 and started in July 2005. These projects will receive funding of $4.4 million in 2005–06.
Projects implemented in 2004–05 included: Mondulkiri elephant conservation (Cambodia); conservation of the eastern black crested gibbon and snub-nosed monkey (Vietnam); environmental education training and community awareness programme for Tam Dao National Park (Vietnam); community conservation of the Gau Highlands and the critically endangered Fiji petrel in Gau Island (Fiji); delivering conservation and policy development for the Sulu Sulawesi Seas (Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines); conservation of coral reef hotspots in the Bismarck Sea (Papua New Guinea); and enhancement of biodiversity conservation in Indonesia.
The department continued to participate in an international project to develop cultural heritage practice in China. The department’s partners in this project are the Chinese State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the Getty Conservation Institute. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage is developing master plans for managing two world heritage sites at Mogao and Chengde. The master plans will be presented as models at the 15th General Assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS, an international non-governmental organisation dedicated to the conservation of the world’s historic monuments and sites) to be hosted by China at Xi’an in October 2005.
The department administers the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 and the government’s Historic Shipwrecks Programme. The aims are to increase knowledge and enjoyment of Australia’s historic shipwreck heritage while protecting shipwrecks and associated relics.
In November 2004 the minister announced that two newly discovered shipwrecks off the New South Wales south coast, the William Dawes and TSS Bega, would be protected under the Act.
During 2004–05 the department provided $0.4 million to the states, the Northern Territory and Norfolk Island for the administration of delegated responsibilities under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 and for projects aimed at the protection, preservation and monitoring of historic shipwrecks.
The department administers the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. The aim is to prevent Australia’s cultural heritage from being significantly diminished due to the export of heritage objects. This includes supporting collecting institutions such as museums through the National Cultural Heritage Account. The Act also aims to protect the cultural heritage of other countries by preventing the illegal importation of significant objects. Results for 2004–05, including a review of the Act, objects acquired with assistance from the National Cultural Heritage Account, and objects assessed during the financial year, are listed in the report on the operation of the Act in the second volume of this set of annual reports.
- Grants-in-Aid-National Trust
- Cultural Heritage Projects Programme
- Sharing Australia’s Stories
- Gifts to the Nation
- Commemoration of Historic Events and Famous Persons
- Strengthening Tasmania—Low Head precinct
This programme supports the National Trust’s activities to conserve Australia’s cultural heritage and increase public awareness of this heritage. Under the programme the department paid $0.8 million to the Australian Council of National Trusts' and to state and territory trusts in 2004–05. Payments supported National Trust initiatives such as publication of the Australian Council of National Trusts stage one report on windfarms and landscape values, publication of the New South Wales National Trust’s quarterly magazine Reflections; publication of the South Australian National Trust’s Heritage Living circular, the development of online education information for schools and other education institutions by the Western Australian National Trust, and upgrades to the web site of the Victorian National Trust.
Fremantle War Memorial—work on the podium and steps was funded by the Cultural Heritage Projects Programme
Photo courtesy of Returned and Services League of Australia Western Australia Branch Inc
This programme supports projects that conserve places of significance or identify an Indigenous place for conservation planning and listing. Of the 226 grants approved in the four rounds of funding, 196 have been finalised with the remainder due for completion by the end of October 2005. The department paid $3.3 million under the programme in 2004–05. Grants totalling $14 million were approved over the four rounds, with $12.9 million expended. The programme has now lapsed.
This programme supports projects that help individuals and communities discover and share the stories and places that showcase Australia’s distinctive national character and identity. Under the first (2004–05) round of the programme the Minister for the Environment and Heritage approved funding for 22 projects. These projects are expected to be completed and acquitted by the end of 2005–06. The department paid $0.5 million under the programme in 2004–05.
This programme provides one-off funding for appropriate projects promoting national heritage stories and newly listed national heritage places as a key component of the Australian Heritage Council’s public engagement activities. As an example, the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Site in Victoria illustrates part of the wider story of Australia’s gold era. In 2004–05 $0.4 million was expended.
This programme supports the commemoration of people, events and places of national historical significance. Under the programme the department paid $0.1 million for projects including war graves and the Prime Ministers’ Memorial Wall at the Melbourne General Cemetery. An ad hoc grant of $50 000 (GST inclusive) was given to assist with the conservation of a historic whaling building, now used as a Scout Hall, called ‘The Barn’ located at Mosman, New South Wales. The works are expected to be completed by December 2005.
During 2004–05 the department paid $50 000 to refurbish a building dating from the 1860s in the historical Low Head precinct near Launceston, Tasmania.
|Performance indicator||2004–05 results|
|Asia–Pacific Focal Point for World Heritage Managers|
|Number of projects or activities approved under each programme||7 projects|
|Number of agreements, plans and management arrangements put in place||2 plans (World Heritage - Pacific 2009 Strategy and Lorentz National Park management plan)|
|Number of projects or activities approved under each programme||32 projects|
|Cultural Heritage Projects Programme|
|Number of projects or activities approved under each programme||72 projects|
|Sharing Australia’s Stories|
|Number of projects or activities approved under each programme||22 projects|
|Gifts to the Nation|
|Number of projects or activities approved under each programme||5 projects|
|Commemoration of Historic Events and Famous Persons|
|Number of projects or activities approved under each programme||8 projects|
|Extent to which (self-imposed, ministerial or external) timeframes are met||High - timeframes met in accordance with departmental standards|
|Accurate and timely approval, payment and acquittal of grants in accordance with legislation and guidelines||All approved projects funded
Funding provided under financial agreements that reflect accountability, reporting and acquittal procedures
|Accurate and timely payment of monies||Payments made in accordance with terms and conditions of financial agreement with each grant recipient|
|Grants-in-Aid-National Trust (Administered item)|
|Extent to which payments support National Trust heritage initiatives||High - supported public awareness, understanding and appreciation of Australia’s cultural heritage and the promotion of cultural heritage including through education, training and research|
|9 agreements finalised by December 2004||4 agreements finalised by December 2004, with the remaining 5 agreements finalised by June 2005 - delays were due to resolving administrative matters including late receipt of acquittals and governance issues|
|Regional Natural Heritage Programme (Administered item)|
|Implementation achieves the Australian Government’s Regional Natural Heritage Programme objectives, and is undertaken in accordance with Australian Government financial, project management and audit requirements||Funding was provided under financial agreements that reflect accountability, reporting and acquittal procedures, and was targeted to the objectives of conservation management planning and conservation activities|
|Number and value of Regional Natural Heritage Programme projects established to approved funding targets and completed according to contractual requirements||9 projects approved in 2003–04 received funding of $0.8 million in 2004–05 - final reports due in October 2005|
|Maintenance and Protection of Indigenous Heritage Programme¹|
|Objects of cultural heritage significance 500
Places of cultural heritage significance 100
|63 projects totalling $3 million were funded in
2004–05, of which 49 were focused on the identification and conservation of Indigenous cultural heritage sites
|Effectiveness of involvement by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in protecting or preserving objects or places of cultural heritage significance or in contributing to decision-making on environment matters||Funding for 50 of the 63 projects approved in 2004–05 was provided directly to Indigenous organisations. Under the programme guidelines, eligibility for funding for all projects was dependent on the demonstrated involvement and support of traditional owners.|
|National Cultural Heritage Account|
|Extent to which the use of the account achieves the Australian Government’s objectives of preserving heritage objects by assisting their acquisition by Australian collecting institutions||6 applications were received during the financial year. The minister approved funding for 1 application. 5 applications were still under consideration as at 30 June 2005. The National Cultural Heritage Committee requested further information on 2 of these applications prior to formulating a recommendation to the minister, and the remaining 3 were not received until late in the financial year.|
|Number of objects acquired||1 object|
|Extent to which statutory timeframes are met under legislation||High - 150 out of 171 actions met statutory timeframes under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The 21 cases when timeframes were exceeded were due to the large number of applications for the National Heritage List received - including requests for emergency listing - and the complexity of the assessment processes required.
All timeframes met for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984
|Number of referrals considered under legislation||7 applications under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 to protect 4 areas of Indigenous significance
See also report on the operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in the second volume of this set of annual reports
|Number of plans or arrangements assessed under legislation||Preliminary advice provided on 12 draft management plans
Preliminary advice provided on 4 draft Commonwealth heritage strategies under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
See also report on the operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in the second volume of this set of annual reports
|Extent to which Australia’s strategic objectives are achieved through international forums||High - Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, Melbourne inscribed on the World Heritage List
Report to World Heritage Committee showed that Australia’s world heritage properties are well managed
6 on-ground projects were supported in Pacific states and China to assist efforts to protect and manage heritage of international significance
15 new biodiversity hotspot conservation projects approved for funding under Regional Natural Heritage Programme
|Information and education products distributed to stakeholders (measured by web site hits, information material distributed, etc)||9 221 copies of heritage publications sent out
Average of 26 046 user sessions per month to the heritage-related part of the department’s web site
|¹ These indicators appeared in the 2004-05 Immigration and Mulitcultural and Indigenous Affairs portfolio budget statement.|
Annual report on the operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 included in the second volume of this set of annual reports
Annual report on the operation of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 included in the second volume of this set of annual reports
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984
Australian Heritage Council Act 2003
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Hindmarsh Island Bridge Act 1997
Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976
Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986
Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area Conservation Act 1994
|Element of pricing||Budget prices¹
|Sub-output: Heritage conservation
Sub-output: Australian Heritage Council
|Total (=Output 1.5: Heritage)||24 586||24 552|
|Regional Natural Heritage Programme
National Cultural Heritage Account
Maintenance and Protection of Indigenous Heritage Programme
Strengthening Tasmania – Low Head Precinct
|Total (Administered)||7 770||4 399|
|¹ Prices are the estimated full-year revenues for departmental outputs and full-year expenses for administered items that are shown in the 2004–05 portfolio additional estimates statements.|
See also: summary resource tables.