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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
29 October 2001
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today announced that Purnululu National Park, containing the Bungle Bungle Range, is set to become Australia's fifteenth world heritage property.
"I expect that Purnululu will join a select group of world heritage properties, including Kakadu and Uluru Kata-Tjuta, which are listed for both their natural and indigenous cultural values," Senator Hill said while visiting Perth today.
A major step toward world heritage listing has been taken with the Commonwealth government placing Purnululu on Australia's 'tentative list' under the World Heritage Convention. Inscription on the tentative list is an interim step toward formal inscription on the World Heritage list.
Senator Hill said that a formal nomination would be lodged with the World Heritage Centre by February 2002.
Purnululu National Park is located in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia and covers more than 239,000 hectares.
"Purnululu is an area of incredible natural beauty. It is dominated by the Bungle Bungle range, which is a spectacular maze of beehive shaped peaks, separated by narrow gorges lined with fan palms and cliffs with seasonal waterfalls and rock pools."
Senator Hill said that the Commonwealth was working closely with the Western Australian government and the local aboriginal traditional owners to finalise a nomination recognising both the natural and cultural values of Purnululu.
"Purnululu is of enormous cultural significance to its traditional owners. It is an outstanding example of a cultural landscape demonstrating the intimate relationship between the Aboriginal traditional owners and their environment."
"The exceptional natural beauty of Purnululu, its geological importance and its ecological significance, being situated in a transition zone between the arid desert environment of central Australia and the monsoon savannah environment of northern Australia, will form the basis of the nomination for its natural values."
Senator Hill said that the Commonwealth government spends more than $70 million a year on the conservation and management of Australia's world heritage properties.
"The recognition of Purnululu as an area of outstanding global significance will add to Australia's impressive record on world heritage - we already have more natural world heritage properties than any other nation in the world and more properties listed for both natural values and indigenous traditions. We also have the strongest world heritage legislation in the world in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999."
The Blue Mountains were formally listed as Australia's fourteenth world heritage property in 2000.
29 October 2001
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) 0419 258 364