Rainforest Aboriginal people have ongoing traditional connections to land in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, including ongoing customary laws. The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is a cultural landscape to Rainforest Aboriginal people.
The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is embedded with enormous meaning and significance to its Traditional Owners. Partnering with Rainforest Aboriginal people is a key aspect of the Wet Tropics Management Authority’s work. The Wet Tropics Regional Agreement between the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area management agencies and 18 Rainforest Aboriginal tribal groups has provided a framework for Rainforest Aboriginal people to negotiate greater involvement in the management of World Heritage Area.
Wet Tropics leads and coordinates management of the World Heritage Area with a wide range of local and state management agencies including Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Wet Tropics works with management partners and facilitates best practice for connectivity, biosecurity, pest and weeds.
Freehold blocks or parts thereof account for two per cent of the World Heritage Area and 100 leases account for 10 per cent. There are more than 2,500 individual blocks of land neighbouring the World Heritage Area’s 3,000 kilometre boundary and many more in the catchment areas. Land neighbouring the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is managed for a multitude of purposes including conservation, timber production, grazing, sugar cane and other agriculture, beekeeping, tourism and private residences.
Wet Tropics' statutory control does not extend outside the World Heritage Area boundary. Cooperative landholder partnerships and positive community relations is important in ensuring sustainable management of lands surrounding and inside of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Other opportunities also exist to connect with groups interested in protecting the integrity of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and its unique biodiversity. For instance, Wet Tropics has developed an independent website for the Cassowary Recovery Team. The Cassowary Recovery Team is supported by Commonwealth funding to oversee recovery of the iconic southern cassowary.
Wet Tropics also support and participate in the activities of not-for-profit and volunteer organisations that enhance and promote sustainable use of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Wet Tropics acknowledges individual contributions that members make to protecting the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Community support and commitment to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area provides a shared vision by protecting through partnerships, an outstanding natural and living landscape.