Climate change poses one of the most significant future threats to the Wet Tropics region. Climate change will likely result in widespread, unavoidable and substantial ecological change, which will impact upon the biodiversity values that underpin the World Heritage listing of the Area. The natural assets of the Area are critical to the region’s tourism industry and provide direct and indirect ‘cross-sectoral’ economic benefits of more than $5.2 billion to the regional economy annually. The Authority will play a leadership role in responding to climate impacts on the World Heritage Area. In collaboration with partners, the Authority will develop an adaptation plan and take responsibility for delivering upon priority actions.
The Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area is managed on the ground by a number of partners across a range of tenures. Each of these partners is responsible for managing their respective areas of land. The Department of Environment and Science through the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) manages 85% of the World Heritage Area and dedicate significant resources to undertake day-to-day management (such as weed and pest animal control, visitor management, road maintenance, capital works, wildlife management, research etc.) across the parks and forestry estate. The Authority has an ongoing partnership agreement in place with QPWS with associated funding to help manage the World Heritage values of the Area. Approximately 10% of the Area is managed as private lease or freehold, and the remainder is managed by local councils (for council water supply assets, visitor facilities, public infrastructure, and road corridors) and community service infrastructure providers. Despite the great work undertaken by partners, problems often arise when issues cut across tenure boundaries. Without adequate coordination, responses to issues may be ad hoc and ineffective as they only address the extent of the problem up to the respective tenure boundaries and organisation responsibilities. The Authority has a strong interest in shared governance and management outcomes across all land tenures in the World Heritage Area, and as such is well positioned to respond to a number of key cross-tenure issues. Consultations with the Wet Tropics community has identified some key issues where we can play a lead or coordinating role in taking the actions outlined below.