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June 23rd 2005
Is Magnetic really World Heritage?

Magnetic Island's World Heritage status has been questioned in the past by Townsville City Council and some individuals. The matter was clarified by the Federal Environment Minister some years ago but, as the question continues to be raised by members, Friends of Magnetic Island have sought clarification more recently and, for the benefit of all, the following letter form Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell makes the position clear.

(DATED 1 JUNE 2005)

Ms Kelly Marlin
Friends of Magnetic Island
PO Box 133

Dear Ms Marlin

Thank you for your letter of 7 April 2005 about the concern of your organisation for the protection of the World Heritage values of Magnetic Island. Thank you also for your kind wishes regarding my new Ministerial responsibilities.

The Australian Government is committed to the protection and conservation of Australia's World Heritage. The protection of matters of national environmental significance, including World Heritage, is provided for under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 [ EPBC Act ] . The World Heritage provisions of the EPBC Act apply to an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the World Heritage values of a declared World Heritage property. Such actions should be referred to the Commonwealth for approval.

The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area includes the continental island and coral cays within its boundaries including Magnetic Island. The World Heritage provisions of the EPBC Act therefore apply to Magnetic Island. The Townsville City Council has been made aware of the World Heritage status of Magnetic Island and the need for this to be taken into consideration in the preparation of planning frameworks and undertaking development activities.

I recognise there are community concerns associated with urban and tourism development on Magnetic Island and the potential for these to impact on the Island 's World Heritage values. To this end, my Department is currently undertaking an independent scientific study of the World Heritage values of Magnetic Island. This will assist all parties, including the Townsville City Council, developers and my own department, in meeting their respective responsibilities under the EPBC Act.

Yours sincerely


Is Magnetic really World Heritage?
Simon Woodley
June 23rd 2005
I am pleased that Senator Campbell has set out the legal basis of Magnetic Island as part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. This has always been clear from the original listing of the GBR in 1981. There should now be no further doubt about the legal position.

The real issue now is the degree to which world heritage status is a factor in decisions about conservation and development on and adjacent to Magnetic Island. The Townsville City Council could as a matter of policy adopt a planning approach that is consistent with and in the spirit of the world heritage status of the Island. The alternative is the continuation of the adversarial approach that has characterised many development decisions to date.
Scott Timlock
June 23rd 2005
Bravo Ian Campbell,
i hope that the Townsville City Council pay close attention to this clarified fact , and keep all aspects of both developement and heritage in balance , for the long term preservation of this beautiful and environmentally delicate area.We clearly have enough over-development of habitat which has been handled poorly in the recent past,to our environmental detriment.Lets not make irreversible mistakes with Magnetic island.
July 2nd 2005
Ditto to all the above, I also received an indisputable written response from the previous Minister, Hon. David Kemp. Sad to say, apart from past efforts, acknowledgements, and the brilliant and thorough report/study completed by Maggie scientists recently, where there is a market to satisfy, TCC will never fully support and protect MI's separate and special status. However, I applaud the current minister's commitment, and encourage others to write individually to him, expressing concern and support.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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