Queensland Minister for Environment Leeanne Fraser Island today joined Traditional Owners and conservation representatives on K’gari (Fraser Island) to celebrate the milestone of the world’s largest sand island.
“It is quite fitting we celebrate Fraser Island as being a world treasure on World Heritage Day,” Ms Enoch said.
“The island, rich in cultural heritage and famous for its beauty, was listed as a World Heritage site for its outstanding universal values, putting this beautiful location in the same league as the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands and the Pyramids of Giza.
“The island was recognised as significant to all humanity and was listed as a World Heritage Area under three separate criteria.
“Firstly, for its ongoing geological and biological processes – its ancient sand dune systems. Secondly, for its superlative natural phenomena – its forests and freshwater lakes; and thirdly, for its exceptional natural beauty.”
Ms Enoch also said it was great to be able to celebrate K’gari being added to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative.
“His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, announced this addition when he was in Bundaberg earlier this month and it’s wonderful K’gari has been added, along with Bulburin National Park, to the network of conservation projects that stem across Commonwealth countries.
“This will provide opportunities to further protect and conserve K’gari for future generations.”
Ms Enoch said today was also about marking the international significance of other World Heritage sites across Queensland and across Australia, and their rich histories.
“We are also celebrating the achievements of those who fought to conserve K’gari’s natural and cultural values – from achieving the first declaration of national park areas on the island in 1971, and cessation of mining in the 1970s and logging in 1991, to the recognition of the Butchulla people’s unbroken connection to country with the native title ruling in 2014,” Ms Enoch said.
“The Butchulla people also played an important and supportive role in listing K’gari as a World Heritage Area.”
As well as rainforest, K’gari has 250km of sandy beaches, intensely coloured sand cliffs and spectacular sandblows.
The sand dunes are some of the oldest in the world, and the island has half of the world’s perched freshwater lakes.
“It’s fitting that the Butchulla Traditional Owners call the island K’gari, meaning ‘paradise’,” Ms Enoch said.
Ms Enoch thanked Butchulla Traditional Owners for their work and continuing involvement in protecting K’gari.
Minister Enoch also thanked conservationists who joined the fight, including the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation, to protect Fraser Island from sand mining and logging.
“The efforts of all these dedicated people led to the protection of Fraser Island in perpetuity, and to the World Heritage listing,” Ms Enoch said.
More information about the Fraser Island World Heritage Area can be found at: https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/management/world-heritage-areas/fraser-island-committees.html