Koongarra makes world heritage listing
After more than 30 years, a uranium-rich piece of Aboriginal land near Kakadu National Park has been added to the World Heritage List.
The 1,228-hectare site, known as Koongarra, was added to the register during a meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Paris.
The French nuclear energy company Areva, which owns mining licences in the area, had unsuccessfully asked the committee to remove Koongarra from its agenda.
Koongarra is important Aboriginal land but was originally excluded from the park in 1979 because of its potential uranium resources.
Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Don Henry says it is the end of a long fight to protect it from uranium mining.
“Kakadu is beloved by many Australians,” he said.
“This is right beside the famous Nourlangie Rock area and it’s a great tribute to Jeffrey Lee, the traditional owner who’s called for its protection to look after his own country, but it’s a great gift for all Australians.”
Environment Minister Tony Burke welcomed the decision, saying it will help protect Koongarra for generations to come.
There are some legal steps the Government will need to finalise before Koongarra is officially included as part of Kakadu National Park.
It means the area will be fully protected under law and mining prohibited.