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Appendix B1 - Matter-specific Standard for World Heritage

Recommended National Environmental Standards

Appendix B to the Final Report sets out in detail 4 recommended National Environmental Standards that were developed by the Review following consultation with science, Indigenous, environmental and business stakeholders and with input from technical experts.

World Heritage properties are cultural and/or natural heritage places considered to have Outstanding Universal Value by the international community. They are properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List that Australia has committed to protect under the World Heritage Convention for present and future generations.



Environmental Outcome

The Outstanding Universal Value of Australia’s World Heritage properties is identified, protected, conserved, presented and transmitted to future generations.

National Standard

The conservation and management of World Heritage properties is supported by actions, decisions, plans and policies that:

  1. Protect and manage the World Heritage values, including the Outstanding Universal Value and associated attributes and conditions of integrity and/or authenticity of each World Heritage property in accordance with the World Heritage Management Principles, and with input from the Australian community, from those with rights or interests in the place, particularly Traditional Owners, and from experts.
  2. Ensure the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and associated attributes and conditions of integrity and/or authenticity are not adversely impacted, taking into account both individual and cumulative impacts, including by ensuring that decisions, at a minimum:
    1. avoid actions within, or that have an impact on, a World Heritage property, unless consistent with the Outstanding Universal Value(s) of the property.
  3. Are not inconsistent with a management plan for the property made in accordance with the EPBC Act.
  4. Develop and implement management arrangements that ensure the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and associated attributes and conditions of integrity and/or authenticity of World Heritage properties are conserved and maintained.
  5. Monitor and report on the state of the values, attributes and conditions of World Heritage properties.

Further Information

International commitments relating to World Heritage:

Australia is a signatory to the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (commonly known as the ‘World Heritage Convention’). Signatories to the convention agreed to take effective and active measures for the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage.

See also:

General information about Australia’s listed heritage places

Australian Heritage Database

UNESCO World Heritage List – Australian properties

This Standard should be applied in conjunction with the Overarching MNES Standard, relevant matter-specific Standards and other National Environmental Standards.


Attributes: attributes are the tangible or intangible elements, aspects or processes of a property though which its Outstanding Universal Value is manifest. Attributes should be understood in accordance with the use of the term in the World Heritage Operational Guidelines (2019).

Cumulative impacts: the collective impacts from all actions, decisions, plans, policies and other pressures, measured against a stipulated baseline. See Significant Impact Guidelines 1.2 (2013), Significant Impact Guidelines 1.3 (2013) and Reef 2050 Plan: Cumulative Impact Management Policy (2018) for further explanation of the concept of cumulative impacts.

Integrity and authenticity: integrity and authenticity should be understood in accordance with the definitions at paragraphs 79 – 95 of the World Heritage Operational Guidelines (2019). Adverse impacts on integrity and authenticity may include detrimental change to the integrity of key habitats, threatened species or ecosystem processes which are attributes of a World Heritage property, and detrimental change to the ability of a site to authentically express its cultural values through its attributes, such as Traditional Owners’ expression of culture through Country.

Outstanding Universal Value: Outstanding Universal Value should be understood in accordance with paragraphs 49-53 and 77-78 of the World Heritage Operational Guidelines (2019), and includes the criteria under which the property is inscribed on the World Heritage List, the statements of authenticity and/or integrity, and the statement of protection and management. These may include natural, human or cultural values related to listed property.

World Heritage Management principles: defined in regulation 10.01 of the EPBC Regulations.

World Heritage property: defined at section 13 of the EPBC Act. Includes the areas within the boundary of the listed property. Where properties have a buffer zone these zones should be taken into account.

World Heritage Values: defined at section 12(3) of the EPBC Act.

Additional information

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    Publish date

    October 2020