The Federal Government is a signatory to the World Heritage Convention, an international treaty which binds the Government to protect World Heritage Areas for future generations. The Wet Tropics World Heritage Protection and Management Act 1993 is the Queensland legislation which sets out the role of the Wet Tropics Management Authority in managing the World Heritage Area. The Act also provides the legal basis for the Wet Tropics Management Plan 1998, currently under review. See the Wet Tropics Plan Review page for more information about the proposed changes. The Plan regulates land use activities in the World Heritage Area through a zoning and permit system and is based on five broad approaches:
Management agreements may allow some activities, otherwise prohibited, if the agreement contributes to the achievement of the Primary Goal of World Heritage management.
Associated with the Wet Tropics Management Plan is Protection through Partnerships, a plain English explanation of the Authority's policies which underpin the Plan.
Please note: The Plan is currently being reviewed as part of the Wet Tropics Plan Review process.
Australian legislation which relates to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area includes the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Under this Act a person must not, without an approval under the Act, take an action that is likely to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance. These inlcude:
The Act requires that a person proposing to take an action should contact the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for a decision on whether or not the action needs an approval. If a Commonwealth environmental approval is required, this will be in addition to relevant State approvals. For further information, see the Australian Government website.
The Nature Conservation Act 1992 provides for the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of biological diversity on National Parks and other protected areas. Under the Act, the Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 1994 regulates protected wildlife, including conservation of rare and threatened plants and animals, throughout Queensland. Significantly, the Wet Tropics Management Plan does not regulate animal wildlife and relies on Nature Conservation Regulations for the management of animal wildlife on and off protected areas.
Other legislation which is important for management of the World Heritage Area includes:
the Forestry Act 1959 (Qld) which regulates management and protection of State Forests and Timber Reserves
the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Qld) - the VMA - which regulates the clearing of vegetation on freehold land
the Land Act 1994 and Land Regulation 1995 (Qld) which regulate vegetation clearing on State land
the Natural Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2000 (Qld) which introduced conservation covenants and amended the Land Act 1994
the Biosecurity Act 2014 which regulates prohibited and restricted matter including specified weeds, feral animals and diseases
the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 which obliges each local council to create a plan regulating the effects of development activities
the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 (Qld) which provides for the protection and management of the Queensland coast and the development of coastal management plans
the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld) which regulates the management, use, development and protection of fisheries resources and fish habitats and the management of aquaculture activities
the Water Act 2000 (Qld) which deals with water use, entitlements and allocations, and planning for water management
all instruments in force under the World Heritage Properties Conservation Act 1983 (Cwlth), which continue to apply since the Act’s repeal upon the introduction of the EPBC Act in 1999.
Conservation and land management must also take into account Aboriginal rights and interests as defined in the following legislation:
The Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth)
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (Cwlth)
The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld)
Section 10(5) of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Protection and Management Act 1993 (Qld)
Section 60 of the Wet Tropics Management Plan 1998 (Qld)
If you need to view any piece of legislation in Queensland, you can visit the website of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel.