Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Emergency heritage protection for Jordan River levee site

Media release
23 December 2010

The Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has used emergency powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to place the Jordan River Levee site, near Brighton in Tasmania, on the national heritage list.

"The Jordan River levee site is nationally important for its strong cultural association with Tasmanian Aboriginal people," Mr Burke said.

"The site is exceptionally important to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community as it has been found to provide a direct connection to their ancestors, to their way of living and to their traditional cultural practices that can be handed on to succeeding generations.

"I am using the emergency heritage provisions of national environment law to recognise the national importance of this site.

"On advice from my department it became clear that even if a listing were to take place this would not, as a matter of law, prevent the road from going ahead.

"Notwithstanding this information it has been my understanding that the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre requested the listing in any event.

"I have since received advice from my department indicating that the Jordan River levee site is eligible for emergency listing.

"The Australian Heritage Council will now carry out a full and comprehensive assessment and make a recommendation to me on including the area permanently in the National Heritage List."

As part of the assessment process the Australian Heritage Council will call for public comment and advise owners and occupiers of its assessment.

The council will make its recommendation to the minister by 1 October 2011.

Under national environment law the minister can emergency national heritage list a place if it has one or more national heritage values and if these are under imminent threat.

Media Contact: Kate Scott-Murphy 0408 433 581