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This issue:








Wet Tropics Community


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.

Highlights in this issue include the appointment of Cr Julia Leu and the re-appointment of Dr Alastair Birtles as Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA) Directors. The Authority is also making good progress towards having the Wet Tropics recognised as part of Australia’s National Landscapes Program.

Also in our Education section we have announced the winners of the ‘Keep It Wild’ poster competition. Thirteen finalists' artworks have been used to make the WTMA 2011 calendar.

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

Visit our web site here.


United Nations Ambassadors Visit

As part of the Australian Government's "Special Visitors Program", the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade brought four UN Permanent Representatives to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and Great Barrier Reef. The visiting Ambassadors all showed considerable interest in the way the World Heritage Area is protected and valued socially and economically for its ecosystem services. WTMA staff Andrew Maclean and Nev Reis accompanied the ambassadors on a visit to Skyrail Rainforest Cableway hosted by Max Shepard.

Research Strategy

The WTMA Board has approved the Research Strategy for its use in guiding research priorities in the region. The research strategy promotes the World Heritage Area as a unique ‘Learning Landscape’ that provides opportunities for collaborative research across disciplines such as ecology, climatology, tourism, sociology and economics.

Queensland’s Wet Tropics has affinities with the upper reaches of the Amazon and Congo basins and the uplands of Madagascar, Brazil and New Guinea; however Queensland’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area has an added advantage over other tropical rainforest research areas. Our rainforests are easily accessible, there are high quality research institutions and infrastructure in the region, and the forests are internationally acknowledged as outstanding by scientists and conservationists.

“Research that helps improve the ways we manage a World Heritage Area based on the best available science can attract considerable international attention and can influence the adoption of good management practices in other parts of the world”, says project manager, Dr. Steve Goosem.

The strategy was developed under the guidance of the WTMA Scientific Advisory Committee, and in consultation with the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; Queensland Department of Environment and Natural Resource Management; and numerous academic and community stakeholders.

Board Appointments

Cr Julia Leu has been appointed as a Director of the Authority. Nominated by the Commonwealth, Cr Leu will bring to the Authority her long experience in local government along with her skills and knowledge of community engagement systems and her strong commitment to conservation of the Wet Tropics rainforests. Cr Leu’s colleagues on the Board and WTMA staff welcomed her appointment and look forward to her contribution over the next three years.

Directors and staff also welcomed the re-appointment of Dr Alastair Birtles for a second three year term as a WTMA Director. Dr Birtles is a Queensland nominee who will continue to make a strong contribution to the Authority, particularly in areas such as eco-tourism, business development, and planning, and who will continue to apply his extensive knowledge of conservation priorities for the Wet Tropics.

Fulbright symposium

The values and management of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area featured at the recent Fulbright Symposium in Cairns.

The Australian-American Fulbright Commission promotes and supports educational and cultural exchange between Australia and America. Its 60th anniversary symposium hosted by James Cook University adopted the theme, 'Sustainable societies in the tropical world'.

Opened by US Ambassador Jeffery Bleich (see his Blog of his visit to the Wet Tropics here) and attended by leading academics and policy makers from both sides of the Pacific, the symposium provided a great opportunity to highlight the special values and partnerships involved in managing the World Heritage Area.

The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area session was in the form of a panel discussion chaired by WTMA chairperson Peter Valentine. Other panellists included Ro Hill, Phil Rist, Nigel Stork and Andrew Maclean, each focussing on different aspects of the Wet Tropics. Outcomes of the panel discussion contributed towards symposium conclusions regarding environmental sustainability.

National Landscapes Program

The National Landscapes Program is a partnership between Tourism Australia and Parks Australia that aims to build on the natural link between tourism and conservation to market Australia's world-class visitor experiences. WTMA’s view is that the program would be incomplete without including the Wet Tropics given its status both as a World Heritage Area and an established international tourist destination.

Along with its partners in the tourism industry, conservation sector, Indigenous community and others, WTMA has been pleased to develop a proposal for inclusion of the Wet Tropics under the program. The National Landscapes Committee responded positively to our initial proposal and some follow up work is now underway.

Click here for more information about the program.

Cassowary Awards in November

The Board would like to thank those who nominated exceptional people or community groups for this year's Cassowary Awards. Every year WTMA staff are more and more amazed by the amount of dedicated people doing great things to protect our World Heritage Area. We had an outstanding list of nominees to choose from and WTMA would like to thank all our nominees for their brilliant efforts in the region. The awards will be presented at Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas during November.

Eastern Kuku Yalanji (EKY) Project Update

WTMA is partnering with the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people in implementing their successful 2007 native title determination package involving 230,000 hectares of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The determination package was described by former Premier Peter Beattie as “the most significant in Queensland’s history”. 16,500ha has been set aside to help up to 6000 Eastern Kuku Yalanji people with an opportunity to return to live on country.

WTMA also partners with their prescribed body corporate, Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, to work up the Community Development Plans with the Eastern Kuku Yalanji clan groups. These plans are scheduled to be in place by 2011. Initial consultations with six Clan groups earlier in 2010 resulted in community agreement on the principles and development approaches to be followed, and the identification of 5 pilots for Community Development Plans. The pilot plans will aid as a template to roll out similar plans for the area. All this work is stepping closer to allowing the Traditional Owners to live and work sustainably while caring for their country.

Native Title Rights for the Jirrbal People

The Federal Court of Australia convened in Ravenshoe on 8th October 2010 and made three consent determinations recognising the Jirrbal People's native title rights over approximately 92,003ha of country, including land and water.

The state of Queensland and WTMA also signed an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Jirrbal people. This agreement further recognises the Jirrbal people's native title rights and interests over the protected areas including National Parks in their traditional country.

For more information see National Native Title Tribunal website.


Keep it Wild Winners

A large gathering of students, teachers and parents attended the Cairns Regional Gallery on 20 August to cheer on the finalists and winners of the Reef and Rainforest Keep It Wild Poster Competition, part of the Cairns Festival 2010. Over 350 entries were received this year and the standard was so exceptional that the winning artworks will be compiled into a calendar for 2011. All winners received great prizes from Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Big Cat Green Island Cruises.

To get a free calendar, be quick as numbers are limited, please contact: Wet Tropics Management Authority, Cairns Corporate Tower, Level 1, 15 Lake Street. Ph 40520533 or download a copy here.

What’s that plant? – Rainforest Workshops

Want to know more about the rainforest plants around you? Upcoming workshops to be held in Cairns, Atherton, Paluma and Townsville offer the public a chance to learn how to identify rainforest plants from the experts.

In partnership with the Australian Tropical Herbarium and CSIRO Plant Industry, the Authority has developed a series of Plant Identification Workshops that provide hands-on training for members of the general community to learn and develop skills in plant identification techniques.

“The workshops are part of our commitment to sharing our research and expertise with the community,” said Professor Darren Crayn, Director of the Australian Tropical Herbarium.

Additional workshops have been organised for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services and Indigenous Rangers throughout the Wet Tropics. The identification workshops are based on the Interactive Key to Australian Rain Forest Plants which now include orchids, ferns and some weeds. The courses will run until December this year. Funding for the workshops is provided through the Australian Government Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility. A limited number of spaces are available. Find out more here.

Rainforest Research Partnership Underway

WTMA welcomed the announcement of an Australian Government funding commitment to establish a Daintree Rainforest Research Facility. This will incorporate the James Cook University Canopy Crane and facilities at the Daintree Discovery Centre with support from Rainforest Rescue.

The proposed ‘Daintree Rainforest Observatory’ provides a wonderful opportunity to build on the strong working relationship between all partners in researching and presenting the values of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

There is great synergy between the rainforest research being conducted by James Cook University, the eco-tourism interface provided by the Discovery Centre and Rainforest Rescue’s rehabilitation of degraded rainforest land.

Flying Fox Summit

WTMA supported the Cairns Regional Council in hosting a Flying Fox Summit for the Wet Tropics community in August. The day brought together scientists, conservationists and farmers to learn about Spectacled Flying Foxes a protected species vital for seed dispersal and pollination in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

Spott’s Safety Message Winners

WTMA with sponsorship from Wildlife Habitat ran the Spott’s safety message colouring competition. The winner was Sarah Martin from Whitfield State School. She received a family pass to Wildlife Habitat and a special class visit from Spott the python.



Mossman Gorge boardwalk

Mossman Gorge boardwalk has had a significant face lift in the last couple of months. This key entrance point for visitors of the World Heritage Area has been raised to a standard worthy of its international reputation. Mossman Gorge has high visitation and the new infrastructure will protect the area from the impacts of pedestrian traffic and give visitors safer access to this beautiful place.

Should you have any queries about the upgrade please contact Tina Alderson, Senior Ranger on 4098 2188 or 0438 195 495 or via email at tina.alderson@derm.qld.gov.au.  View the map here.

Wet Tropics community

Tolga Bat Hospital Visitor Centre

WTMA would like to congratulate the Tolga Bat Hospital which has recently celebrated their first anniversary of the opening of the Visitor Centre, and its recent awarding of Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation. View their latest e-newsletter for more information.

Kuranda Visitor Information Centre

WTMA would like to congratulate the Kuranda Visitor Information Centre which has raised $350 this year for the local wildlife rescue centre Bat Reach, run by Pam Tully and Betty Timmins. The Kuranda Visitor Information Centre is part of a Wet Tropics network of centres supported by the Authority to help present the Area to visitors.


t: 07 4052 0542 | f: 07 4031 1364
a: 1st Floor, 15 Lake Street, P O Box 2050, Cairns Q 4870
Visit our web site | email us here