June 23rd 2005
Is Magnetic really World Heritage?
Magnetic Island's World Heritage status has been questioned in the past by Townsville City Council and some individuals. The matter was clarified by the Federal Environment Minister some years ago but, as the question continues to be raised by members, Friends of Magnetic Island have sought clarification more recently and, for the benefit of all, the following letter form Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell makes the position clear.
COPY OF LETTER RECEIVED FROM :
SENATOR THE HON IAN CAMPBELL,
MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE,
SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA,
(DATED 1 JUNE 2005)
Ms Kelly Marlin
Friends of Magnetic Island
PO Box 133
NELLY BAY QLD 4819
Dear Ms Marlin
Thank you for your letter of 7 April 2005 about the concern of your organisation for the protection of the World Heritage values of Magnetic Island. Thank you also for your kind wishes regarding my new Ministerial responsibilities.
The Australian Government is committed to the protection and conservation of Australia's World Heritage. The protection of matters of national environmental significance, including World Heritage, is provided for under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 [ EPBC Act ] . The World Heritage provisions of the EPBC Act apply to an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the World Heritage values of a declared World Heritage property. Such actions should be referred to the Commonwealth for approval.
The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area includes the continental island and coral cays within its boundaries including Magnetic Island. The World Heritage provisions of the EPBC Act therefore apply to Magnetic Island. The Townsville City Council has been made aware of the World Heritage status of Magnetic Island and the need for this to be taken into consideration in the preparation of planning frameworks and undertaking development activities.
I recognise there are community concerns associated with urban and tourism development on Magnetic Island and the potential for these to impact on the Island 's World Heritage values. To this end, my Department is currently undertaking an independent scientific study of the World Heritage values of Magnetic Island. This will assist all parties, including the Townsville City Council, developers and my own department, in meeting their respective responsibilities under the EPBC Act.