Celebrating the Cultural Values of this Australian Rainforest Region World Heritage Area

Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Robyn Bellafquih
Prof Allan Dale
Bruce Prideaux
Jim Turnour
Phil Rist
Sonya Jeffrey
Joann Schmider
Anja Pabel

NNTC2015 is convened in Sunrise Yalanji country, northern third of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area (WTQWHA). Tourism has been this rainforest region’s fastest growing industry in the last 30 years, now involving 20% of the region’s jobs and 2.1m visitors spending equivalent to $11,000 per resident annually. However, a generation after the Bicentenary 1988 inscription, resident Rainforest Aboriginal people (RAP) are able to name less than half a dozen TO-owned tourism enterprises or tour bus guides (2010-2014). Tourism use of the area was intended to contribute to understanding Aboriginal cultural heritage for all, and social and economic benefit to RAP (Wet Tropics Management Authority, 2002).

Eighteen PBCs within the region’s 20 tribal groups hold native title over 70% of the WTQWHA. RAP name culture and heritage connected with country as the underlying and central warp and eave of TO lives (1992, 2005, 2010, 2014). In 2012, after more than seven year’s effort by RAP and partners, this rainforest region was inscribed on Australia’s National Heritage Listing for unique Aboriginal cultural values (CV) and the upcoming Yr2020 milestone focusses attention on realising benefits for TOs and legacy for all.