Australia's World Heritage properties are a clearly identifiable part of our heritage.
The benefits of being listed
Inscription of a property on the World Heritage List can produce many benefits for Australia, and in particular, for local communities.
In the case of properties such as the Tasmanian Wilderness, Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, World Heritage listing has featured in promotions that have resulted in greatly increased tourist visitation from overseas and within Australia.
Local communities benefit from possible increases in employment opportunities and income, as well as improved planning and management of the region. The Australian Government has focused on assisting of World Heritage properties by providing resources for strengthening management and improving interpretation and visitor facilities.
World Heritage listing also promotes local and national pride in the property and develops feelings of national responsibility to protect the area.
Ownership and control of world heritage places
World Heritage listing does not affect ownership rights. Ownership remains as it was prior to nomination, and State and local laws still apply. World Heritage properties in Australia do not become Commonwealth property, nor do they become the property of any international body or foreign power.
Australia's World Heritage properties comprise a wide variety of land tenures including freehold, perpetual lease, pastoral lease, town reserve, State forest, national park, nature reserve, Aboriginal reserve and recreational reserve.
The Australian Government has an international obligation to protect and conserve World Heritage properties, but there is no impediment to existing land uses unless they threaten any of the outstanding universal values of the property.
Experience shows that listing does not necessarily limit the range of activities that can be carried out on a property. For instance, grazing occurs in the Willandra Lakes Region, NSW, and Shark Bay, Western Australia, and there is recreational and commercial fishing in the Great Barrier Reef.