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Welcome to the latest issue of our quarterly e-newsletter. We hope it will keep you up to date with our activities and projects in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

A highlight in our news includes the exciting announcement of our new WTMA Board Chairperson. We welcome Associate Professor Peter Valentine to his new position and look forward to his leadership of the Authority.

If you have any comments, contact us on
07 4052 0531 or give us your feedback

Feel free to pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Andrew Maclean,
Executive Director

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WTMA Board Chair

The Hon Kate Jones MP, on behalf of the Wet Tropics Ministerial Council, recently made the very welcome announcement of the appointment of Associate Professor Peter Valentine as Chair of the WTMA Board. Peter brings with him an impressive knowledge of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area from his career at James Cook University, spanning more than three decades. He has long been committed to caring for World Heritage Areas and was involved in the establishment and listing of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

Spott the python

WTMA would like to welcome Spott, the spotted python. Spott, a nine-year- old female, is an exciting addition to the WTMA team. She will be a valuable educational resource to create awareness for Wet Tropics wildlife on school visits around the region. Spott will also help to deliver safety messages to the community and encourage a newfound respect for these top-order predators.

WTMA website

The Wet Tropics website has been updated. It now contains more information and is easier to navigate. Some interesting new sections include Tourism and Visitor Information and the Authority's ‘From the Heart' book, produced as part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area twentieth year celebrations.


Keep it Wild poster competition

WTMA is launching the Reef & Rainforest "Keep it Wild", poster competition with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. This year's competition celebrates the Queensland school system's year of environmental sustainability and the international year of biodiversity, declared by the United Nations. To enter the competition, or for more details, please visit the
Wet Tropics website.

Native Title determinations

Two more Native Title determinations have been made in the Wet Tropics. On 17 December the Dulabed and Malanbarra Yidinji people became recognised native title holders over 16,460 hectares of land and water, 37 km south of Cairns. On 19 December the Girramay people's Native Title rights and interests were recognised over 475 hectares in the Cardwell to Murray Upper area. WTMA staff worked with Traditional Owners and other agencies to achieve an agreement that acknowledges and respects the rights of the Traditional Owners while protecting the values and integrity of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.


Wet Tropics activity report

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have produced their Wet Tropics Region Activity Report for November 2009 to February 2010. It covers a range of land management and visitor services in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.


Mossman Gorge elevated boardwalk

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will soon be replacing the existing access track at Mossman Gorge with an elevated boardwalk. When completed, the boardwalk will provide a world-class experience to the World Heritage site. The boardwalk is currently being fabricated off site and construction will start around April/May this year, to be completed in August 2010. The Rex Creek suspension bridge is also being replaced.

The new bridge will hopefully be completed by the end of April. Work on the elevated boardwalk will necessitate closing some parts of the car park and main track at times. The project is being funded under the Australian Government's Jobs Fund. QPWS will work closely with tourism operators, Cairns Regional Council and the community to maintain levels of access. QPWS will advertise closure and disruption details prior to works commencing. Should you have any queries, please contact Senior Ranger Tina Alderson on 4098 2188.

Forest transfers

A number of Forest Reserves were transferred to National Park just before Christmas. For the Wet Topics these include:


Heights of Victory Forest Reserve - to Mt Lewis National Park


Mt Lewis Forest Reserve - to Mt Lewis National Park and Mt Lewis National Park (Recovery)


Riflemead Forest Reserve 1 and Riflemead Forest Reserve 2 - to
Mt Lewis National Park


Round Mt Forest Reserve - to Mt Lewis National Park

These welcome additions to the national parks estate will further strengthen conservation of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

Wet Tropics Community

Cattana Wetlands opening

Cairns Regional Council officially opened Cattana Wetlands in Smithfield on Sunday 6 December 2009. The $3 million rehabilitation project has restored the wetlands and planted around 10,000 native plants to create a nature-based recreation park. Visitors can now explore the walking tracks around the lagoons and feather palm forest, learning about the importance of wetlands and native wildlife through a series of interpretive signs.

Earth Hour

Earth Hour 2010, to be held on 27 March, is a worldwide campaign aiming to educate the community about the threats of climate change, informing individuals and businesses about the difference they can make by reducing their emissions at home and in the workplace. Cairns Regional Council, GBRMPA and other local partners have launched the Earth Hour Hot FM Short Video Competition and entries are due by 19 March. Selected videos will be screened at the Cairns Earth Hour event, which will feature a public art project and silent auction.

The entertainment will continue into the night with live music and entertainment. For further information please email earthhourfnq@gmail.com or visit www.cairns.qld.gov.au.

Queensland Tourism Awards 2009

ongratulations to Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, who won the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism at the 2009 Queensland Tourism Awards in November. Other winners in the Wet Tropics include the Daintree Discovery Centre, Paronella Park, Hidden Valley Cabins and Noorla Heritage Resort. WTMA congratulates these winners for their achievements in presenting the values of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area to many thousands of visitors.



International visitors in Australia survey

The results of the 2009 international visitor survey by Tourism Research Australia have been published. The results showed that among regional areas in Australia, tropical north Queensland received the highest expenditure of $919 million during the year from international visitors. Tropical North Queensland also attracted 666,000 visitors to the region during the 2009 survey. Tourism Research Australia publications and reports are available online.



Bee alert for honey bee swarms

A new threat to the Wet Topics has emerged with the discovery of Asian honey bees at Lake Eacham in January. While similar in appearance to European honey bees, they can potentially carry and spread the varroa mite, and are declared a pest species. Australia is currently free from varroa mites which caused the rapid demise of a colony, resulting in weak and deformed bees. If you notice any unusual honey bee swarms or colonies around Cairns or the Atherton Tablelands, please report them immediately to the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries by calling 132523.

Wallaby Summit Thursday 22 April

Cairns Regional Council will host a Wallaby Summit on Thursday 22 April at the Tanks Arts Centre, in an effort to help manage wallabies in our urban environment. Increasingly, populations of Agile Wallabies (Macropus agilis) in several regions of the north-east Queensland coast have become an issue of concern for local governments and residents. As increasing development occurs in previously forested or cleared areas, populations of these wallabies are under increasing pressure from habitat constraints. Guest speakers from a range of interest groups, including local and state government, James Cook University, FNQ Wildlife Rescue, conservation groups, environmental consultants and relevant industry and community groups will present case studies and background information. At the close of the summit, it is hoped an action plan may be developed to assist the future management of wallabies within urban areas. The summit starts at 8.30am and finishes at 3.30pm. For more information contact Cairns Regional Council on 4044 3044.


UNESCO Our Place project

The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area has recently been added to the UNESCO Our Place project. The website features stunning images from a variety of World Heritage Areas and the Wet Tropics is the latest to be added to the collection. The Wet Tropics Management Authority hosted visiting photographers from UNESCO in October to introduce them to the amazing diversity of wildlife and habitats in the region.

International Year of Biodiversity

The United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. To celebrate the year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Oceania, will be highlighting a different theme each month. The theme for March is Conserving the Diversity of Life, which will draw attention to the rate that animal and plant species are becoming extinct and the pace at which natural environments are being destroyed, which is increasing every day. The IUCN will also feature a Species of the Day with information on the threats each species faces.

t: 07 4052 0542 | f: 07 4031 1364
a: 1st Floor, 15 Lake Street, P O Box 2050, Cairns Q 4870
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