Etheridge Shire is founded on its mining heritage and as time rolled on; cattle and more recently tourism have become the economic drivers of employment and prosperity, but employment in the mining and cattle industry has fallen significantly over the years. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that people employed in mining in the Etheridge Shire fell 89.9% from 169 (in 1996) to 17 (in 2011), and employment in agriculture fell 41.5% from 212 (in 1996) to 124 (in 2011). The ABS does not report on employment in ‘Tourism’, the jobs are recorded in other categories (e.g. retail, or administration) and results of the 2016 census are not yet available.
In 2010, Council committed, in its Corporate Plan, to stimulate investment in existing and new industries creating a sustainable, diverse economy. Council first considered the Geopark concept in 2015, as part of the Gulf Savannah Tourism Strategy, later (September 2016) the Etheridge Shire Council decided to investigate the concept. Currently, Council is undertaking a regional approach to developing the Geotourism Industry in Etheride and has decided not to lodge a nomination to become a UNESCO Global Geopark this November as a result of community feedback.
The proposal to become accredited by UNESCO as a Geopark was just a tool to achieve that Corporate Plan objective and to provide the foundations for the area’s economic future. A number of residents and industry groups have expressed concerns about the Geopark and they are addressed later in this newsletter. Council acknowledges that residents have a legitimate right to receive a response to their concerns.
Council decided, at its General Meeting of June 2017:
- Not progress an application for a UNESCO accredited Geopark over the entire Etheridge Shire as a result feedback from Community Consultation, but continue with the original intent to promote the unique geological features, National Parks and other ventures as a means to encourage economic and employment growth within the Shire; and
- Continue to establish an Etheridge Geotrail Advisory Committee to develop and promote international branding to make Etheridge Shire a destination for tourism.
The following concerns have been expressed by residents. The answers are provided by Council:
Q. Will property prices be affected by this park? Who in the Etheridge Shire Council possesses such expertise to answer this?
A. Property prices are affected by a wide range of factors, including what a purchaser is prepared to pay, what a seller is prepared to accept, prevailing economic and market conditions, interest rates, demographics, location, area, improvements to the land, land tenure, and in some cases, the price of gold. Professional valuers generally assess the recent sales for comparable properties before preparing a property valuation. No qualified Valuers are employed by Council.
Q. Will this affect the water supply of the local towns? Will pumping from local waterways be allowed?
A. Accreditation as a geopark will not affect the availability of water to local towns or properties. The same laws that govern taking water from waterways will prevail.
Q. What type of sewerage systems are permitted in a Geo Park? Will all dwellings have to change to a green/eco type toilet?
A. Accreditation as a geopark will not affect the requirements for waste water disposal. The same laws that govern waste treatment will prevail.
Q. Who will have to pay for changes?
A. Without knowing exactly what your concerns relate to, property owners will not need to make any changes in their lifestyle or to their properties, unless they want to. The Geopark creates opportunities for landowners to diversify their businesses and create additional streams of revenue at their option.
Q. Will commercial buildings in towns have to be upgraded to suit UN standards?
A. Geoparks do not impact standards for commercial buildings. The same laws that govern building standards will prevail.
Q. Will dams be allowed on stations? Will existing dams have to be demolished?
A. Geoparks do not impact on existing or new dams. The same laws that govern dams will prevail.
Q. Will cattle properties have to comply to a more stringent Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)? How much per year will this be?
A. Properties will need to comply with the relevant existing State and Federal environmental requirements. Accreditation as a Geopark will not impose any additional requirements.
Q. Will fire protection burn-backs be allowed? How much will the permit cost?
A. The permit system for burning will not change as a result of Geopark accreditation.
Q. When the UN has control of the entire shire, can they impose migrants on to the local ratepayers?
A. A Geopark does not give the UN control of the Shire and the Federal Government will continue to control migration.
Q. Who will bear the costs of upgrading all shire roads/bridges etc to accommodate the expected huge influx of international tourists?
A. The roads in the Shire are a mix of State and Local roads. Additional traffic may result in the State Government allocating additional funding for upgrades and maintenance and Council will continue to maintain the best local road network it can, having regard to the available resources (including funding opportunities). If roads are upgraded as a result of increased tourism, the entire community will benefit. If the Geopark attracts a ‘hugh influx’ of tourists, we can also expect an increase in jobs, population and prosperity that will generate a dividend to invest into Council’s services, including the road network, however, the increase in tourism is likely to build slowly, rather than see an immediate and significant increase.
Q. Will local residents have to learn another language to communicate with international tourists or who will pay for interpreters?
A. Residents will not have to learn another language and interpreters will not be required.
Q. Which State Gov. dept. will have authority over the Geo Park? Will it be the Environment and Heritage Department?
A. If the Council seeks and gains accreditation as a Geopark, Council will establish a separate management authority, including Council representatives and a range of other key stake holders to administer it. Through its Advisory Committee, Council is consulting with a wide range of government, business and industry groups as well as with communities, as part of its stakeholder engagement process.
Q. Will cattle-feed supplements be allowed?
Q. Can stock feed ie hay, be carried from other shires or through the Etheridge Shire?
A. The same biosecurity controls that currently exist will continue to apply.
Q. Will horse sports ie rodeos be allowed?
A. Yes, there will be no additional controls placed on horse sports as a result of a Geopark.
Q. What happens to cemeteries? Will burials still be allowed in this shire?
A. Active cemeteries will continue to operate, there will be no additional controls placed on the burials as a result of a Geopark.
Q. Will there be control of bush airstrips by the UN?
A. There will be no changes to the control of airstrips.
Q. Fuel – Will private properties be allowed to store fuel, oil, avgas etc?
A. The same planning and safety requirements will remain.
Q. Have the local Indigenous Groups been consulted?
Q. Will the local butcher be required to slaughter animals via the halal method?
A. Geoparks do not require halal products to be sold or produced. How local butchers slaughter stock remains their choice.
Q. Will customers have to pay the halal tax on these products?
A. The Geopark does not impose any halal requirements.
Q. Will tourist operators ie caravan parks/hotels/motels/camping grounds be allowed to accommodate visitors pet dogs?
A. There will be no additional restrictions on keeping animals as a result of a Geopark.
Q. Will pest eradication measures such as 1080, sprays for rubber vines and weeds be allowed to be continued?
A. Geopark designation will not affect the relevant bio-security options.
Q Are all Councillors rate payers in the Etheridge Shire? How many have or are intending to move into the tourist industry business?
A. Not every Councillor is a ratepayer. Section 152 of the Local Government Act 2009 establishes the qualification to be a councillor. The requirements are that they:
- Are an adult Australian citizen;
- Reside in the local government’s area;
- Are enrolled on the electoral roll; and
- Are not disqualified from being a councillor.
Councillors are not required to be rate payers: their Registers of Interest (published on Council’s website) lists property ownership. The intentions of Councillors to move into the tourist industry are not known, however, current shareholdings and sources of income are also included in Councillor’s Registers of Interest.
Q. Why was this intention to join UNESCO Geo Parks NOT mentioned on any of the present Mayor/Councillors pre-election screeds, which were sent out to all residents before the last council election?
A. Although Council first considered the Geopark concept in 2015, as part of the Gulf Savannah Tourism Strategy, it wasn’t until September 2016 that the Etheridge Shire Council decided to investigate the concept. The Council election was held in March 2016.
None the less, the following questions and answers are provided below with respect to the UNESCO Geopark proposal:
1. Has an expression of Interest been submitted to the Australian National Commission for UNESCO?
No, the only communication with the Australian National Commission has been a letter sent by Council advising that an assessment of a UNESCO global geopark proposal had commenced. It was been Council’s intention that any letter of intention to submit an application (as specifically prescribed in the process) would only issue once it had been established that the proposed application met the necessary criteria and had the support of the community and Queensland Government.
2. If so when and what was the outcome including details?
There are no outcomes expected from this letter as it only advised that the Council had commenced consideration of a UNESCO global geopark proposal.
3. If they have occurred, a copy of the original of each of these should be publically provided.
A requirement for applying for Global Geopark status is that it must be demonstrated that the area has already been functioning as a de facto Global Park for at least one year. Given the council has proposed applying for Global Geopark Status and is in the community consultation stage:-
The requirement to demonstrate the functionality of a de facto geopark is a procedural matter which would be covered within the information submitted with the application (which has not been submitted). It was intended that the de facto nature of the geopark could be established simply by reference to the following existing elements of geological interpretation which include:
- The pre-existence of the Lava Tubes, Gems and Gorges Geotrail as part of the well promoted Savannah Way tourism route.
- The advanced ecotourism certified tour operations of the Undara Lava Tubes and Cobbold Gorge.
- The managed operations of protected lands administered by the National Parks and Wildlife.
- The interpretation facilities of the TerrEstrial centre featuring the Ted Elliot Mineral and Fossil Collection.
4. Why has the council not provided details in one document to the community in regards to this functioning de facto Global Geopark?
Council intended to progressively prepare its UNESCO application as information was contributed. As the project only reached the consultation phase and a decision had not been made to submit an application, the consolidated document had not been prepared as it was considered premature to compile and circulate this information prior to its verification, endorsement and a decision to lodge the UNESCO application.
5. To address this oversite would council provided a document addressing the questions similar to those in an application for a Global Geopark (listed below)? this would assist with greater understanding of the proposal.
Council does not concede that the failure to document the functioning de facto Global Geopark was an oversite, although with hindsight, it may have approached the project differently. Council is simply not in a position at this time to provide detailed information requested, as this information was in the process of progressively being compiled in consultation with various stakeholder groups and was to be assembled and formally considered by the Advisory Committee before being submitted to Council for consideration.
Council is well aware of all the information requirements for the application, and this formed the basis of engagement with National Parks and Wildlife; the Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation; Regional Development Australia Far North Queensland & Torres Strait Inc; Tourism Tropical North Queensland; and the Undara operators. Discussions had yet to be held with Cobbold Gorge and the Bedrock Village operators.
The information gathering in respect of the geological heritage was well advanced through the auspices of an expert geoscience and mineral heritage reference group currently comprising Ian Withnall (Chair), Leonard Cranfield, Laurie Hutton, Warwick Willmott, Janice Wegner, John Nethery, Doug McConnell, Ken Moule, Patrick Maher, Tom Saunders and Graham Reveleigh. The findings from this work were scheduled to be considered by the Geotourism Standing Committee and the Governing Council of the Geological Society of Australia in August, a process which would assess the geological merit of the proposal. It should also be recognised that neither the mineral heritage reference group nor the Council had made a determination in respect of the ‘identification of the area’.
6. Can council please provide a copy of the co-management plan and the details of/for its implementation?
Work on the preparation of this document had yet to be commenced and would have been addressed in due course by the Advisory Committee and Council. It should also be noted that there was no requirement for this documentation to be lodged with the application.
7. Can council please provide the details that show the council is appropriately equipped to manage the park?
Work on this aspect of the project requirements had yet to be commenced and would have been addressed by the Advisory Committee and Council. Council has a strong record of successfully managing a wide range of activities.
8. Can Council provide a copy of the partner agreements that council as the GGN Member has to establish with the businesses within the Geopark area?
Work on this aspect of the project requirements had not been commenced and would only be addressed in due course by the Advisory Committee and Council. It should be noted that there is no requirement for this completed documentation to be lodged with the application.
9. Does this partner agreement define precisely the quality criteria and respective commitments between the partner (business) and the Council and does it state that the partner (business) must approve and adopt the GGN code of ethics?
Work on and consideration of this aspect of the project requirements had not yet commenced and would have been addressed in due course by the Advisory Committee and Council.
10. Is Council going to provide full disclosure of these agreement and their conditions to the community and all business wishing to operate/already operating within the proposed Geopark area?
No decision has been made with respect to the level of disclosure. If the project proceeded, Council would balance the desirability of disclosure against any ‘commercial in confidence’ considerations.
11. Can council provide the cost of promoting it partners through all it promotional tools, I.e. what is it going to cost the rate payers.
The costs of promotion had not been finalised, as the project had not been approved and Advisory Committee established, however, Council has a number of tools to enable an equitable relationship between revenue raised from particular land use to be established. At the same time Council acknowledges its fiduciary duty to the ratepayers to have regard to their interests. Council attempts to fairly balance the respective interest of the different categories of ratepayers and not cast an inordinate burden on any one ratepayer or class, based on the premise that wider substantive judgements are made by Council, exercising a broad political assessment of circumstances.
12. Has council investigated what additional legislative regulations and red tape will be required under the commonwealth and state legislations that the extra lay over the shire created by the Geopark area will entail to allow business to continue operating /further develop and any new businesses development other than eco-tourism?
Council is not aware (following reasonable enquiries) of any additional legislative regulations and ‘red tape’ that would be required as a consequence of the UNESCO Global Geopark designation. It has been determined, however, that the Australian Government had no intention of imposing any legislative regulations or subjecting the proposal to approval under any existing environmental legislation. Council is also cognisant of information that the UNESCO Global Geopark program charter does not imply restrictions on any economic activity (including any new businesses development other than geotourism and ecotourism) inside a geopark where that activity complies with indigenous, local, regional and/or national legislation.
13. If so please provide the written details?
There is no advice that indicates that any additional legislative regulations or red tape would be required under Commonwealth or State legislations, trigger by the Geopark.
14. If not why has it not been assessed as part of the process for the Geopark and its implications for Etheridge communities and businesses?
The assumption that the Geopark would result in additional regulation or restrictions on current businesses and activities is not supported by any Council enquiry.
15. Has council sort clarification of what exactly is meant by 3.(vii) of the operational guidelines for UNESCO Global Parks and Article 2. 2.1.2 of the GGN Code of Ethics given the minerals available in the Etheridge shire draw 80+% of the current tourist to this area?
Council has received the following information from the office of the UNESCO Global Geopark program.
- A UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGp) will permit the extraction of ALL minerals and natural resources as permitted under legislation enacted by the State of Queensland.
- Within designated government managed fossicking areas, if the collecting is legislated for by the State Government, then the fossicking is most likely to be approved by the Global Geoparks Council.
- In regard to the status of rock/gem shops and private lands in which fossicking activity is undertaken for private gain, they may continue their trade, but they cannot be involved in the Geopark, be promoted as part of the Geopark, use the name, logo etc. of the Geopark, and they cannot be part of the management of the park.
16. Can council provide a written legal view on this so each and every one of the business who obtain income from fossicking tourism will know how it will affect them in the Geopark setting?
Council has not sought any legal advice on this matter and given that the proposal for UNESCO accreditation is not going to be pursued, little benefit is seen from commissioning legal advice. It is noted that the Agforce Legal Advice (as presented to the Agforce meeting….
17. Can council clearly outline how they are going to make all the Geological heritage sites and all relevant information available as freely as possible, during reasonable hour at regular times (e.g Undara, Gobbold Gorge which are currently operated by private enterprise)?
This is an administrative matter which would have been determined by the Management Body established to operate the Geopark.
18. Can council provide its written policy regarding the sources of income that it will generate through making these sites available as freely as possible and also how it is going to safeguard the financial resources derived from visits to geoparks site for looking after the sites and ensuring the local populations share equitably in the benefits they generate?
These are administrative matters which would have been determined by the Management Body established to operate the Geopark.
In regard to the last matter raised, Council notes that section 5.2.4 of the Code of Ethics relating to ‘Geotourism incomes’ provides, inter alia, ‘The GGN Institutional Member management body should safeguard that the financial resources derived from visits to heritage sites should, at least in part, be used for the upkeep, safeguard, development and embellishment of these sites’. Council has been advised that both the Cobbold and Undara tour operators would readily meet this requirement for their tour operations given the level of investment in installed infrastructure and ongoing maintenance in areas which included interpretation (Savannah Guides Stations) and education particularly as well as their ongoing obligations under the Advanced Ecotourism Certification requirements.
19. Can council provide the detail including financial of how it is going to fund the Geoscientist who should be available daily and all the other employees required?
The Management Body assigned to establish the geopark would determine all details (including financial) relating to the employment of all professional and technical personnel required to undertake the operations of the geopark. Council notes that the existing proposed geopark operations already employ staff which can be deemed to be part of the staffing of the geopark. The Management Body could also apply for special purpose State and Australian Government grant programs such as the Stronger Communities program to underpin the cost of funding staffing and other costs.
Council is aware that Far North Queensland is the home of a sizeable number of people with geoscience and management qualifications who might be interested in working on a geopark project.
20. Can council advise, how it is going to participate in transmitting information against the Commercialization or deterioration of natural elements (animals and plants) or cultural relics or remains.
The Management Body would have worked with relevant government agencies that already have administrative arrangements in place to deal with these issues.
21. Can council advise how it is going to ensure the owners of Intangible cultural heritage benefit from the protection of the moral and material interest’s particularly when it is use, promoted etc by members of the community or others?
The Management Body would have worked with relevant government agencies that already have administrative arrangements in place to deal with the cultural heritage issues raised.
22. Can council provide a full itemised costing of covering all aspects of the membership and management requirements for the park?
If the proposal proceeded, Council planned to develop an appropriate business plan to address all anticipated costs, projected revenues and other aspects of the proposed geopark.
23. What funding will be available to assist those wishing to develop tourism venues/ventures within the Etheridge Shire Global Geopark area?Prospective tourism operators would be able to access any State and Australian Government grant programs which are directed at tourism development anywhere within the State of Queensland. Tourism operators could also access funding support from financial institutions other than from government grants.
I understand that Gulf Savannah Development provides low cost small business advisory services to the Gulf Savannah region of Queensland. As an Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) and Business Enterprise Centre (BEC), Gulf Savannah Development provides small business owners and operators with access to a small business advisor and a team of specialist consultants that travel regularly throughout the region.
24. Who will provide this funding?
25. Who is on the Local Geopark Committee?
This Committee has not yet been established. Council has called for expressions of interest from people who wished to participate in the Geopark Advisory Committee. Any person with an interest would be encouraged to nominate.
26. When were nominations for positions on this committee call for?
The Geopark Management Committee has not been established yet, however, residents have been invited to nominate to participate in the Geopark Advisory Committee at the Georgetown consultation meeting (held 2 May 2017), at the Agforce public meeting held to discuss the proposal and in the May and June 2017 editions of the ‘Inform’ newsletter.
27. Can council advise if Mr Robinson is being paid as a consultant in the development of this proposal?
Mr Robinson (a professionally qualified geologist) is being paid as a consultant in the development of this project, however Mr Robinson is undertaking a significant amount of field work (within Etheridge Shire) on a ‘pro bono’ basis.
28. Has council explored other avenues for industry development and other way they can improve their support of industries already in the shire?Council has also proposed the Gilbert River Irrigation Scheme as another option for economic development to benefit the Shire. If you (or anyone else) have any suggestions to improve the local economy, Council would be pleased to consider your views.
29. Does Council carry out advertising of the tourism assets within the shire across a broad spectrum of avenues to promote the area both within Australia and overseas?
Council has participated in ‘low level’ promotion of the Shire’s tourism assets and proposed to fund the production of some radio, television and social media advertisements to promote the Shire to complement the Geopark proposal.
30. Can Council please provide the reason why if they cannot address these questions and provided the information for the community’s review?Council had demonstrated its willingness to provide the information it is has gathered to date during this early assessment of the Pre-Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark project, however, the project has not progressed to stage where all of the information required to complete the application or requested by the community is yet available. It is noted that a number of the submitted questions relate to proposed activities of a Management Body (which is yet to be appointed), and it can be assumed that this Management Body will develop a business plan to address issues as appropriate.
It should be noted that Council has only undertaken preliminary research at this stage and was attempting to engage with the community to gauge the level of support and respond to any concerns.
At Council’s meeting of 17 May 2017, it was decided:
- to undertake further due diligence on the Geopark proposal to address the concerns of the community;
- adopt a Terms of Reference for the Pre-aspiring Etheridge Geopark project Advisory Committee to establish the relevant roles and responsibilities
- to present the results of the due diligence investigation to the Pre-aspiring Etheridge Geopark Advisory Committee for recommendation to Council
- to seek expressions of interest for membership of the Advisory Committee.
It is also worth emphasising that a UNESCO GeoPark certification is a NOT World Heritage listing. They are completely different in that a UNESCO GeoPark certification encourages economic development in all its forms whether it be Mining, Agriculture, Farming, the building of large-scale dams to promote Irrigated Agriculture, etc. creating wealth and jobs for our region.
Anyone who wishes to be part of the Advisory Committee and be part of the decision-making process is asked to formally lodge an expression of interest with the Council, via post, or email.
Growth of Tourism
In 2013 the Queensland Government commissioned a foresight study by CSIRO Futures to identify and understand the megatrends likely to affect Queensland tourism over the next 20 years. These megatrends pinpoint the changing economic, social and environmental circumstances that affect people's travel choices:
“The world economy is shifting from west to east and north to south. This is creating new markets and new sources of competition:
- Asia is increasingly making a greater contribution to global wealth creation
- Over a billion people in the Asian region will cross the income threshold to middle class over the coming 20 years
- Asia is a fast growing market – but it is not an homogenous consumer market
- Queensland faces new competition with developing countries investing heavily in tourism
- Emerging economies are expected to experience faster growth in tourist arrivals
In a world where ecological habitats are disappearing, the unique natural assets of Queensland will become a stronger drawcard:
- Globally, climate change, poor management and urbanisation will continue to threaten biodiversity
- Around the world, the ability to connect with nature will become rarer and more expensive
- Queensland has rare and world heritage natural assets, and the means to preserve them
- Queensland has world-class natural assets, hosting 85 percent of the nation’s native mammals and five existing World Heritage natural sites
The megatrends provided a basis to inform the development of the 20-year Plan for Queensland tourism. From the convergence of the megatrends, their study proposed five characteristics that can help Queensland's tourism sector differentiate its product and capture increased market share:
- Safe and secure - Whilst able to deliver adrenaline and excitement fuelled holidays for the adventure seeking traveller, Queensland is a politically and socially stable destination on the world map.
- Clean – On the global stage, Queensland has high levels of food, water and general hygiene standards and excellent healthcare services.
- Green (breathtakingly so) –Queensland's beautiful beaches, rainforests, deserts and "great-outdoors" can deliver world class nature experiences.
- Friendly and authentic – People will have greater expectations for authentic experiences and a critical and increasingly important component of that experience is social interaction with other people and local cultures.
- Worth it – The main differentiation for Queensland will be on the quality of visitor experiences. If the expectations are met tourists are more likely to pay a price premium and travel longer distances.”
Council’s proposal is consistent with the State Government’s Tourism Strategy.
Over $2,064M is spent in North Queensland annually by tourists (Cairns, Port Douglas, Cassowary Coast and Atherton Tablelands). If 1% was spent in Etheridge Shire that would boost the Shire economy by $20 M and result in additional job creation.
We are pleased to announce that we meet the criteria and are eligible to lodge a nomination to UNESCO this November. Etheridge Shire Council is currently in the Community Consultation stage of the process – getting your feedback and ideas about the Geopark. There are unlimited opportunities for this project to support regional development and we'd love to hear your creative ideas. You can contact us regarding the Geopark by emailing email@example.com or contacting the Council office.
What is a Global Geopark?
A Global Geopark is a unified area with geological heritage of international significance. Geoparks use that heritage to promote awareness of key issues facing society in the context of the dynamic planet we all live on.
Many Geoparks promote awareness of geological hazards, including volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis and many help prepare disaster mitigation strategies among local communities. Geoparks hold records of past climate change and are educators on current climate change as well as adopting a best practise approach to utilising renewable energy and employing the best standards of “green tourism.”
Geoparks also inform about the sustainable use and need for natural resources, whether they are mined, quarried or harnessed from the surrounding environment while at the same time promoting respect for the environment and the integrity of the landscape. Geoparks are not a legislative designation though the key heritage sites within a geopark should be protected under local, regional or national legislation as appropriate.
Is a Geopark just about Geology?
No! While a geopark must demonstrate geological heritage of international significance, the purpose of a geopark is to explore, develop and celebrate the links between that geological heritage and all other aspects of the area’s natural, cultural and intangible heritages.
It is about reconnecting human society at all levels to the planet we all call home and to celebrate how our planet and it’s 4,600 million year long history has shaped every aspect of our lives and our societies.
Geotourism incorporating all types of ‘Nature-Based’ and ‘Cultural’ tourism:
Understanding how Environmental, Natural & Cultural Heritages are included in the Geopark is as easy as A, B, C:
- Abiotic – non-living aspects such as the climate & geology e.g. landscape and landforms: GEODIVERSITY
- Biotic – the living parts eg. fauna (animals) and flora (plants): BIODIVERSITY
- Cultural – past & present, non-living & built
Key Factors of Geopark Development in Australia(2016):
- Geopark development needs to be state/local government agency initiated and supported.
- A high level of community engagement is essential to meet UNESCO requirements.
- The key driver of geopark development must be focused on regional development – i.e. jobs and growth.
- The approval of Government Geological Surveys for individual projects is an absolute necessity.
- Australian Government approval for UNESCO nomination may well be achieved if state/territory government ‘ownership’ endorsement and funding is clearly established.