Legal Frameworks for World Heritage and Human Rights in Australia

Chapter in: World Heritage And Human Rights: Lessons From The Asia Pacific And The Global Arena, P. Larsen, ed, Earthscan/Routledge, UK, 2017, Forthcoming

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 17/28

19 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2017 Last revised: 27 Apr 2017

See all articles by Ben Boer

Ben Boer

The University of Sydney Law School, Environmental Law; Research Institute of Environmental Law, Wuhan University

Stefan Gruber

Wuhan University; The University of Sydney - Faculty of Law; Waseda University; Kyoto University - Hakubi Center for Advanced Research

Date Written: March 22, 2017

Abstract

This chapter traces the development and implementation of heritage law and policy in Australia since the 1970s, with a dual focus on World Heritage and the emergence of the rights of Indigenous and local communities to participate in decisions relating to their heritage. In order to gain an understanding of the law and policy context in Australia, it first sets out the international frameworks in relation to heritage law and human rights law and then addresses the emergence of national legal responses at federal and state levels. It points out that Australia represents a patchwork of rights-based approaches with regard to World Heritage. Overall, there is now greater awareness of shortcomings in law and policy, partly as a result of the growing recognition of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. However, while a good deal of progress has been made since the 1970s, with opportunities for participation in decision-making and management structures beginning to be embedded in several Australian jurisdictions, the incorporation of human rights in Australia’s World Heritage protection regime is generally not well developed. In many cases, stakeholders are not sufficiently consulted and involved in the identification and management of their heritage. The chapter argues that the complex legal, political and administrative relationships between the federal government and the governments of the states and the territories make it necessary to make much more effort to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to enjoy the same rights and the same levels of protection. Enhancing the Australian human rights framework and legally guaranteeing the right to participation by all relevant stakeholders under federal, state and territory heritage and environmental legislation would considerably contribute to the conservation and protection of all of Australia’s World Heritage sites, thereby more satisfactorily meeting Australia’s duties and obligations under the World Heritage Convention.

Keywords: Australia, World Heritage, human rights, cultural heritage, heritage law, indigenous rights, indigenous heritage

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32

Suggested Citation

Boer, Ben and Gruber, Stefan, Legal Frameworks for World Heritage and Human Rights in Australia (March 22, 2017). Chapter in: World Heritage And Human Rights: Lessons From The Asia Pacific And The Global Arena, P. Larsen, ed, Earthscan/Routledge, UK, 2017, Forthcoming, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 17/28, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2939348

Ben Boer (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School, Environmental Law ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Research Institute of Environmental Law, Wuhan University

Luojia Hill, Wuchang
Wuhan, Hubei
China

Stefan Gruber

Wuhan University ( email )

School of Law
Luojia Hill, Wuchang
Wuhan, Hubei Province 430072
China

The University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Waseda University ( email )

1-104 Totsukamachi, Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo, 169-8050
Japan

Kyoto University - Hakubi Center for Advanced Research ( email )

Yoshidahonmachi
Sakyo Ward
Kyoto, 606-8501
Japan

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