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Media Release
Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

15 December 2004

Decision on emergency heritage listing of St Mary's western precinct site


The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today announced the Western Precinct of the former ADI site, St Mary's, in Sydney will not be given an emergency listing to the National Heritage List.

An application to emergency list the area under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) was received earlier this month. The application was based on the possible impact of urban development on the area's heritage values and the proposed transfer of kangaroos from the eastern end of the site.

"The nomination has had considerable public support, which I recognise," Senator Campbell said. "However the nomination depended on the remnant Cumberland Plain Woodlands in the Western Precinct of the site meeting the threshold of containing outstanding heritage value for the nation.

"Emergency applications to the National Heritage List are assessed against two requirements - that the nominated area contains national heritage values and that these values are under threat.

"The assessment of the nomination was conducted by the Department of the Environment and Heritage. It involved consultation with key stakeholders, including the owners, the Department of Finance and Administration and the New South Wales State Government.

"I have accepted the conclusion presented to me that the values of the nominated site fell below the high threshold required for National Heritage Listing, as clearing and the introduction of exotic species have severely affected the area. An assessment of this area was conducted between 1996 and 1999 for the Australian Government's Register of the National Estate, and this also found the site lacked heritage values.

"Large remnant areas of Cumberland Plain Woodlands are located within the Western Sydney Shale Woodlands at St Mary's and also at the East Orchard Hills area, both of which are outside of the area nominated for emergency listing. These areas are already recognised for their heritage value through their inclusion on the Register of the National Estate and play an important role in the local community."

The National Heritage List is Australia's premier heritage list and came into effect under changes to the EPBC Act on 1 January 2004. More than 60 nominations have been received for the List, including Fremantle Prison in Western Australia, the Sydney Opera House and Port Arthur in Tasmania.

Further information on the National Heritage List can be found at www.deh.gov.au/heritage/national.

Media contacts:
Minister's office 02 6277 7640
Wayne Grant 0407 845 280

Commonwealth of Australia