Management arrangements are required for each Australian property included on the World Heritage List. The Commonwealth considers such plans as vital in implementing Australia's obligations under the World Heritage Convention.
The primary management objectives for World Heritage properties are part of Australia's general obligations under the World Heritage Convention:
- to protect, conserve and present the World Heritage values of the property
- to integrate the protection of the area into a comprehensive planning program
- to give the property a function in the life of the Australian community
- to strengthen appreciation and respect of the property's World Heritage values, particularly through educational and information programs
- to keep the community broadly informed about the condition of the World Heritage values of the property
- to take appropriate scientific, technical, legal, administrative and financial measures necessary for achieving the foregoing objectives.
In achieving these primary objectives due regard is given to:
- ensuring the provision of essential services to communities within and adjacent to a property
- allowing provision for use of the property which does not have a significant impact on the World Heritage values and their integrity
- recognising the role of current management agencies in the protection of a property's values
- the involvement of the local community in the planning and management of a property.
In Australia management arrangements vary from property to property:
- Willandra Lakes Region, Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, Lord Howe Island, Shark Bay, the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh/Naracoorte), the Tasmanian Wilderness, Macquarie Island, the Greater Blue Mountains Area, Purnululu, K'gari (Fraser Island), the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, and the Sydney Opera House are managed by government agencies in their respective States.
- In the case of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland, joint State/Commonwealth management arrangements apply. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is the Commonwealth agency responsible for overall management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the World Heritage Area, and the Queensland Government, particularly the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, provides day-to-day management. The Wet Tropics Management Authority was formed to develop policy and carry out planning for the World Heritage Area with day-to-day management being carried out by State government agencies.
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is owned by the Aboriginal community, which leases it to the Director of National Parks and Wildlife. The Director manages the property as a national park.
- Parts of Kakadu National Park are Aboriginal land and the remaining Commonwealth-owned land is currently subject to land claims. The Director of National Parks and Wildlife is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Park.
- The Heard and McDonald Islands Group is an Australian Territory with day-to-day management being the responsibility of the Australian Antarctic Division.
A web guide to best practice World Heritage management in Australia is now available.