The expert review also considered the Federal Government’s feedback on the National Heritage listing nomination, which acknowledged the depth of the research undertaken for the bid and extent of community support, but noted concerns about the size of the area being nominated and the lack of clear State Government support for the bid.
In response there has been increased focus on engaging with the State Government and specifically the Department of Environment and Water (DEW). Encouragingly, DEW have actively participated in the expert review which has assisted with building mutual understanding and identifying opportunities to refine the bid’s value proposition, or in world heritage terms, the strength and clarity of the ‘statement of significance’. It is anticipated that this will enhance understanding and provide a strong foundation for ongoing engagement with the next goal being to seek the Minister for Environment and Water’s support to put the bid forward for World Heritage listing at a future Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Meeting of Environment Ministers.
It is noted that this period also saw the first full year of the newly elected State Government and changes at key government agencies and departments. Local government elections were also held resulting in some new Mayors and elected members. A federal election was also held with changes ensuing to Federal Government Ministers and departments. The significant political changes are both a challenge and opportunity which will require new relationships to be formed and education on the bid’s rationale and potential benefits to occur.
In terms of progressing this iconic project, the following key tasks need to be undertaken in the near to short term:
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