THE public will now have their say on the move to have Cooloola recognised as part of the Fraser Island World Heritage Area, Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said at the weekend.
Ms Jones said public comment consultation had formally opened on a joint Queensland and Australian Government effort to extend the famous World Heritage Area.
“This is the beginning of a lengthy process that will require a lot of talking and listening to the local community and stakeholders if we are to reach the formal nomination stage,” she said.
“But I believe it’s an exciting time for Cooloola.
“If the community do decide that Cooloola should be nominated and if the international governing body (UNESCO) do ratify that nomination and declare it a World Heritage area, than it will bring a great deal of well-earned international attention.
“In fact, the world will sit up and take notice of Cooloola as an international icon for its natural beauty and conservation importance.
“World Heritage sites are places of such outstanding significance that their qualities make them universally unique and worthy of protection for future generations, and the Queensland Government believes Cooloola has that significance.
“It obviously brings enormous economic potential to the region but I want to be sure that this proposed nomination has the overall support of Cooloola and the wider region.
“I encourage the local community to get behind the proposal and call on interested groups and individuals to have their say before submissions close on May 19,” she said.
“Following consultation and finalisation of the nomination, the Australian Government will submit the nomination some time after 2011.”
Ms Jones said World Heritage listing would not affect ownership rights and there would be no impediment to existing or planned land uses, including current recreation activities, unless they threaten the World Heritage values.
Submissions can be made online, by post or by email, Ms Jones said.