Australian Heritage Commission, 1998
ISBN 0 6425 4590 1
Part B - Principles and a Code for the Management of Wild River Values
4. Premises Underlying the Principles and the Code
There are eight important broad premises on which the principles and the Code of management are based.
'Cedar Falls', Dorrigo National Park, NSW.
Photo: David Hargraves © 1998
- The principal control and management of wild river values should remain with individual States and Territories. Hence, State and Territory authorities are the most appropriate bodies to develop detailed management Guidelines for individual rivers that can be specifically tailored to regional conditions, and social and economic structures.
- That the principles and Code can be applied by all land and water resource managers, in both the public and private sectors, including Indigenous managers.
- That where a river crosses State borders, the relevant States should work towards cooperation and co-ordination of activities within the catchment and the river itself. Inter-State management committees already exist including the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, the Queensland/New South Wales Border Rivers Committee and the Australian Alps National Parks Liaison Committee.
- That consideration should be given to conserving the cultural and spiritual significance of wild rivers.
- That the role of Indigenous groups in determining the management of rivers and catchments in their traditional lands should be recognised and that appropriate consultation and negotiation should be undertaken. Consistent with the Native Title Act 1993 the principles and Code for management of wild rivers respects the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples. While in some areas there may not be readily identifiable traditional owners, there is still a chance that Native Title holders exist. There may also be competing Indigenous interests within the given areas. It is important for these reasons, that management plans for wild rivers should be developed in consultation with traditional owners identified by the relevant Native Title representative body. Where this action has not taken place in the past, urgent steps must be taken to redress the situation.
- That a river system should be treated as an integral entity, wherein the condition of the river column is linked to the health of the catchment. Some activities in the catchment will be compatible with maintenance of wild river values, some will not.
- That the impact of individual activities on wild river values should be assessed on a case by case basis in the context of broader policies (where they exist) on appropriate land uses in various areas. It is not possible to draft Guidelines which can accurately predict the level of impacts that whole classes of activities may have across the range of Australian environments in which these may take place. The Guidelines instead try to set out general principles for the consideration of how activities may impact on the values of wild rivers.
- That cumulative impacts of activities which adversely affect wild river catchments should be assessed, particularly when a new development is proposed.