The Ministerial Forum, comprising Australian and Queensland Environment Ministers, meets annually to provide oversight to the strategic operation of the Wet Tropics Management Authority. The Chair Wet Tropics Management Board, Ms Leslie Shirreffs, leads the discussions and briefs the Ministers on important issues. The Forum meet to approve annual budgets and consider future directions for meeting the property's World Heritage obligations.
One of the significant issues discussed was the eradication of yellow crazy ants from the World Heritage Area. With the Australian and Queensland governments committing $8.8 million and $3.013 million respectively, the successful program will continue and be expanded, including the mobilisation of farmers, local residents, Traditional Owners and the community to achieve local eradication in and adjacent to the World Heritage Area.
The Ministers welcomed the appointment of the new Wet Tropics Management Authority Board in 2016 and supported the Board’s priorities of bringing stronger engagement with Rainforest Aboriginal people and the broader community, enhancing tourism opportunities, and taking action on climate change impacts and resilience.
The Forum also discussed the 30th anniversary of World Heritage listing which falls in 2018 and the opportunities this presents for raising awareness of World Heritage values and the associated local, national and international benefits.
See full Wet Tropics Ministerial Forum No 26 Communiqué here
The Wet Tropics Management Authority Board met on 1 and 2 December in Cairns. They discussed resourcing management initiatives and programs within the World Heritage Area that supports World Heritage management, visitor amenities, and initiatives including engaging Rainforest Aboriginal people in the management and presentation of the World Heritage Area.
Also on the Board’s agenda was the Authority’s strategic work programs, including the review of the Wet Tropics Management Plan for 2018. The Plan provides for statutory protection of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and the 10-year review creates an opportunity for the Authority to consult with landholders, Traditional Owners and the broader community to update and improve Plan operations. A booklet outlining the review process and potential amendments and issues for public comment will be distributed to regional centres and stakeholder groups and individuals in February 2017.
The Board discussed the Authority’s investment in presentation and the need to ensure projects support key visitor centres and attractions—connecting visitors to the World Heritage Area, its value and experience opportunities. The Directors noted opportunities for Wet Tropics presentation to be enhanced by brokering partnerships across the tourism sector and developing narratives about the value of the World Heritage Area and its contribution, locally, nationally and internationally.
The Board also talked about the significance of the Cassowary Awards and noted last minute preparations, the anticipation of announcing Award recipients and the generous and overwhelming support of the event’s sponsors.
See full Board Communiqué here
See previous Board Communiqués and Minutes here