THE HON PETER GARRETT MP
Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and The Arts
THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Member for Lingiari
Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery
8 August 2010
A re-elected Gillard Labor Government will incorporate the Indigenous lands of Koongarra into Kakadu National Park, to ensure uranium mining cannot be carried out on the land in the future.
The announcement was made today by the Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett. “The decision means that this unique land, so important to its traditional owners, will be protected forever,’’ Mr Garrett said.
“This stunning woodland area lies in the shadow of Nourlangie Rock, one of Kakadu’s most popular visitor destinations due to its ancient rock art galleries, first settlement paintings and sacred burial sites.
“As a result of today’s announcement, the Indigenous lands of Koongarra will be available for all Australians to enjoy.
“This is all part of the Gillard Labor Government’s commitment to protecting our environment, natural resources and quality of life and to build a sustainable Australia.”
Mr Garrett said the decision followed extensive consultation by the Northern Land Council and with traditional owners. Earlier this year, the Northern Land Council formally advised the Federal Government that the traditional owner opposed mining in the long term and wanted the threat of it brought to an end by incorporation of their land into Kakadu.
Warren Snowdon said mining in Kakadu has been prohibited since 1987 to ensure the protection of the outstanding Indigenous heritage and environmental values that make it a drawcard for tourists and have led to its global acclaim as a World Heritage Area.
“In reaching this decision, Federal Labor has given careful consideration to mining interests in the area,’’ Warren Snowdon said.
The incorporation of the 1228 hectare Koongarra area would require amendment of the Kakadu National Park Proclamation.
Mr Garrett said a re-elected Gillard Labor Government will apply to the World Heritage Committee to amend the boundaries of the Kakadu World Heritage property to include Koongarra.
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