Australia State of the Environment Report 2001 (Theme Report)
Lead Author: Jane Lennon, Jane Lennon and Associates Pty Ltd, Authors
Published by CSIRO on behalf of the Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001
ISBN 0 643 06752 3
Australia's heritage, shaped by nature and history, is an inheritance passed from one generation to the next. It encompasses many things, the way we live, the traditions we hold dear, our histories, stories, myths, values and places. The diversity of our natural and cultural places helps us to understand our past and our relationship with the Australian landscape. Heritage recognises the indivisible association of culture, nature, country, place, religion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Recognising the diversity of country and cultures in Australia and the unique relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with country, Australia should act as a community that respects, sustains and celebrates its diverse heritage, which connects us to the past, present and country for all generations.
Recognising our responsibilities to past and future generations, the Australian community will conserve its heritage through cooperation and respect between all communities and governments.
All levels of government and government agencies must demonstrate leadership in protecting, conserving, promoting and managing heritage values.
Recognising that Indigenous peoples are owners and custodians of their heritage and have consequent obligations, the heritage of all Australians should be managed in accordance with evolving traditions, customs and laws.
Communities should be actively involved in all processes of identification, protection and use of heritage places, other than where this would be inconsistent with the conservation of heritage values.
There should be a comprehensive inventory of heritage places accessible to the general public, subject to confidentiality to protect heritage values or customary rights.
Identification and assessment should be based on the full range and diversity of heritage values.
Determination of significance should be based solely on heritage values and be separate from management decisions.
The fundamental aim of conservation is to sustain heritage value with the least possible intervention. Where the use of a place involves a risk of significant irreversible damage to heritage values, lack of scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for allowing that use.
The uses of heritage places should, as far as practicable, be limited to those which are compatible with the heritage values of the place. Where there is a conflict between heritage and other values, prudent and feasible management options must be sought and considered.
The effective identification and conservation of heritage places is dependent upon relevant research, education and presentation which respects the heritage values of the place and the sensitivities of communities.
Conservation of heritage should be adequately resourced, recognising the rights, responsibilities and capabilities of governments, owners, custodians, communities and interested parties, and respecting cultural and gender requirements.
Planning processes and decisions must include conservation management planning for heritage.
Agreed at the 1998 National Heritage Convention.