University of Tasmania
whole_BarnettGuy1995_thesis.pdf (18.47 MB)

A critical examination of the World Heritage nomination, listing and management procedures in Australia

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posted on 2023-05-27, 06:34 authored by Barnett, Guy
This thesis demonstrates that the nomination and listing procedures and subsequent management of World Heritage areas in Australia are grossly inadequate and in need of reform. The thesis intends to establish the ambiguity of the provisions of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (hereinafter referred to as the 'Convention') and the inconsistency that exists between it, the operational guidelines and Australian domestic legislation. It argues that the implementation of the Convention into Australian domestic law has caused a limitation of the rights traditionally attributed to the states in Australia's federal system of government. The consequences of the Federal Government ratifying more than 2000 international treaties without a rigorous review process is considered. It demonstrates that the resulting disintegration of the sovereignty of the States vis‚ÄövÑvÆ‚àö‚Ć‚ÄövÑvÆvis that of the Commonwealth is a major factor that has caused political disharmony. It concludes that the traditionally held rights to manage land use and protect the environment traditionally held by the States and Territories have been dissipated by the Commonwealth Government's use of its powers pursuant to section 51(xxix) of the Constitution, and in particular, the increasing number of international treaties and conventions. In addition, it demonstrates that the Australian Commonwealth Government has not fulfilled its responsibilities as provided in specific articles of the Convention. The thesis explores the substantially inadequate provision made within Australia's legal and administrative framework for certain, coherent and transparent World Heritage nomination, listing and management procedures. The framework is inadequate to balance equitably the competing interests in World Heritage areas. The critical examination of the World Heritage nomination, listing and management procedures takes place in the context of a country with a little more than 200 years of development since white settlement, and a country rich in natural beauty and resources. It explains that during the prosperous 1970s there was an upsurge of public interest in the conservation and preservation of Australia's natural environment. The conservation and preservation of certain parts of Australia's natural environment had a significant detrimental economic impact and caused considerable social and community disharmony. It shows that World Heritage listing subsequently became perceived as a divisive act undertaken primarily for political purposes. This thesis attempts to demonstrate that the nomination, listing and management of World Heritage areas in Australia should be viewed in a political context and not a purely legal and administrative context. It contends that the inadequacy of the legal and administrative framework, together with the changing constitutional ramifications enhanced the political nature of decisions by the Commonwealth Government relating to World Heritage. It argues that the law has served a primarily political function. The thesis is designed to show the substantial misunderstanding of \heritage\" in Australia. It shows that the misconception of the national estate was and is perpetuated to the detriment of a fair and correct understanding of World Heritage. It demonstrates that this misconception has been cultivated to enhance the green lobby's own political agenda. A review of the Tasmanian political and electoral system is included. This review explores the inextricable link between the political and electoral system and the nomination listing and management of World Heritage areas. In this context the history and background of the green lobby's growing influence over the implementation of World Heritage nomination listing and management is discussed. It shows that most World Heritage areas are owned by State Governments but some areas are privately owned. Those with an 'interest' in these areas are the State Governments private individuals or companies and yet the management of these areas remain primarily subject to the directions of an oft perceived far‚ÄövÑvÆremoved Commonwealth Government. The studies explain how the processes for nomination listing and management have resulted in antagonism between the Commonwealth and the States (generally those governed by an opposing political party) in addition to antagonism between the Commonwealth and the various competing interests particularly the forestry and mining industries and the recreational land users. World Heritage is something in which all Australians should be proud. But because the process for nomination listing and management is so inadequate it is open to abuse for political purposes. It is hoped that through the reform of both firstly Australia's treaty making and ratification procedures and secondly the legislative and administrative process for nomination listing and management we can substitute a divisive concept for one of which we as Australians can be deservedly proud."


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Copyright 1994 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (LL.M.)--University of Tasmania, 1995. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 245-252)

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