Cooloola Coast World Heritage plan
A WARY Gympie Regional Council is considering its position on State Government plans to include much of the Cooloola Coast mainland in the Fraser Island World Heritage area, after hearing an address from government representatives.
Department of Environment and Resource Management World Heritage manager Peter Ogilvie told councillors at its Planning and Development Committee meeting that extending the Fraser Island listed area was a logical next step.
He said the Fraser Island listing plan originally included Cooloola, the Great Sandy Straits and Tin Can Bay, but the World Heritage Committee decided these areas did not have the required level of protection.
“A lot was forestry and other areas were not sufficiently protected. Now it’s all National Park.
“The Queensland Government, as part of an election promise, agreed to extend the Fraser Island property to the mainland.
“The Commonwealth agreed, but didn’t want to proceed because of the number of other properties in the book, like the Exhibition Building in Melbourne, the Opera House in Sydney and Ningaloo in Western Australia.
“The Exhibition Building (and) the Opera House (have) been accepted, Ningaloo is being considered and now the Fraser Island (extension) is probably the next cab off the rank.”
He said the areas had “exactly the same geomorphology and vegetation”, were managed as national park together and the plan was in line with the original proposal.
Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett said he had “serious concerns” the government would have to “sell the plan, especially to locals” and it did not seem to add to existing Ramsar and Biosphere protections.
Cr Donna Neilson expressed concerns about council’s continuing ability to draw drinking water and dispose of sewage, especially if the plan drew more international visitors to the area.
Mayor Ron Dyne was concerned at the interaction of listing with the Biosphere, with both designations operating under UNESCO.
Cr Graham Engeman was anxious about the plan’s impact on residential rights and the fishing and tourism industries.
Cr Ian Petersen said international involvement would mean that it might be too late to make any future adaptations once power was handed over to an international body.
Councillors resolved to ask Engineering director Bob Fredman to prepare a draft submission and report back to council.