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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
&
Bob Debus
New South Wales Minister for the Environment
&
Dean Wells
Queensland Minister for the Environment

9 August 2002

New Scientific and Community Involvement for Better Protection of Australia's World Heritage Rainforest


The World Heritage listed Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (CERRA) will be better protected than ever with the establishment of two new Committees, the Community Advisory Committee and the Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee.

The Committees met for the first time today at Coffs Harbour and will advise the Federal and State Governments of New South Wales and Queensland on how to best protect and manage Australia’s World Heritage rainforest.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, Queensland Minister for the Environment Dean Wells and New South Wales Minister for the Environment Bob Debus said that the establishment of the Committees was an important strategic milestone for stakeholder engagement in the Rainforest Reserves.

“The Community Advisory Committee will give members of the community an opportunity to have their views incorporated into management decisions and will also foster greater understanding and cooperation between stakeholder groups,” Dr Kemp said.

“The two Committees will provide separate advice based on the collective expertise of their members but both committees have the common goal of protecting and conserving these important forests.

“This World Heritage area not only boasts subtropical, warm temperate and cool temperate rainforests, but a concentration of primitive plant families that have direct links with the birth and spread of flowering plants over 100 million years ago,” Dr Kemp said.

Under the World Heritage Convention, the Federal Government has an international obligation to protect, conserve and present the CERRA World Heritage Area, which covers 50 reserves from Barrington Tops near Newcastle NSW, to the Scenic Rim in Queensland. The area is managed by State Government agencies in those respective states.

Mr Debus said the new Committees are a valuable addition to existing community consultation mechanisms for other New South Wales World Heritage properties.

“They will also help to create better community understanding of the special needs associated with managing the New South Wales and Queensland elements the Rainforests Reserves as a single property,” Mr Debus said.

Mr Wells said the members of the Committees have been drawn from a range stakeholder groups and scientific interests.

“The Community Advisory Committee’s fifteen members would advise on the views of community interests regarding the management, planning and use of the region and the eight member Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee would provide advice on scientific research priorities and developments in science relevant to the protection of the area,” Mr Wells said.

“Members do not join the committees as representatives of organisations, but as individuals who have an interest in a particular sphere and who are able to make an important contribution to the work of the Committees.”

The chair of the Community Advisory Committee, Professor Richard Braithwaite, has more than 30 years experience in ecological conservation and has spent much of the past decade working in the area of sustainable tourism.

The Chair of the Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee, Professor Roger Kitching, also has more than 30 years experience in ecological conservation and served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Wet Tropics Management Authority for five years.

The Ministers said they looked forward to working with the Committees to maintain the outstanding universal values and integrity of the World Heritage area.

For further information on the World Heritage listed Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (CERRA) please visit the Environment Australia website at: http://www.ea.gov.au/heritage/whatsnew/index.html

Media contacts:
Catherine Job Dr Kemp’s office (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Annastacia Palasczcuk Dean Wells office (07) 3225 1819 or 0419 679 354
Jeannie Zakharov Bob Debus’s office (02) 9995 6500 or 0408 200 078

Commonwealth of Australia