State of the Environment 2011 Committee. Australia state of the environment 2011.
Independent report to the Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Canberra: DSEWPaC, 2011.
Australia has a rich natural and cultural heritage that underpins our sense of place and national identity. Australia's heritage is an important element of the environment—the valued places that we have inherited and will pass on to future generations bridge natural and cultural boundaries. Our land features extraordinary geodiversity, with unique ecosystems and profound cultural traditions that extend back thousands of years. Layered across this ancient landscape is the evidence of more than two centuries of colonial and post-colonial history—young in global terms, but a vital part of our cultural environment. Some of this heritage has been recognised through land reservation or statutory listing, but many heritage places are not formally identified or protected. Indeed, some of the values of Australia's heritage places are intangible and relate to traditions, use or meaning, so they may be less evident in physical form.
Heritage can be most simply defined as those parts of the environment that have intergenerational value. Statutory definitions of heritage typically refer to 'aesthetic, historic, scientific, or social significance or other special value for future generations as well as for the present community'.1 Our heritage comprises both natural and cultural places with tangible (physical) and intangible (associative) values.
For many Australians, particularly those from Indigenous backgrounds, the divide between nature and culture is artificial because the environment is perceived as one interlinked, complex cultural landscape, created and lived in by ancestors and the contemporary community. This chapter recognises this complexity, but considers heritage in accordance with the statutory and bureaucratic listing and identification processes. Like the rest of this report, this chapter adopts a national perspective. However, it also recognises that local heritage items may be critical to a community's sense of place, and thus assessing the state of the nation's heritage demands an understanding of local heritage. In addition, at a national level, heritage is a broad construct that overlaps with other environmental components such as biodiversity, the land, inland waters, marine environments or urban areas, covered in other chapters in this report. Loss of condition or integrity in any of these areas would be a loss for Australia's heritage.
Search within SoE
SoE 2011 - Reader Survey
What do you think of SoE 2011? Please provide your feedback through the reader survey.
SoE 2011 - Reader Survey