GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
An assessment of heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef Region (the Region) was introduced as a legislative requirement for the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report in late 2013. It was not part of the first Outlook Report in 2009. The requirement reflects the 2008 amendment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (the Act) to include protection and conservation of the heritage values of the Region in its main object and responds to a 2012 recommendation by the World Heritage Committee. As defined in the Act, for the purposes of the Outlook Report, the heritage values of the Region include: • Indigenous heritage values: the heritage values of a place that are of significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons in accordance with their practices, observances, customs, traditions, beliefs or history • other heritage values: a place’s natural and cultural environment having aesthetic, historic, scientific or social significance, or other significance, for current and future generations of Australians • world heritage values: the natural heritage and cultural heritage of a property that is internationally recognised as being of outstanding universal value • national heritage values: the values of a place that are of national significance as recognised through placement on the National Heritage List • Commonwealth heritage values: the values of a place that are specified in its placement on the Commonwealth Heritage List. The values of the Region encompassed by these legally defined categories are interconnected and overlapping and there are many ways to group them. In this chapter and throughout the report, the Region’s heritage values are grouped into: • Indigenous heritage values • historic heritage values • other heritage values (comprising social, scientific and aesthetic heritage values) • world heritage and national heritage values • Commonwealth heritage values • natural heritage values (assessed in Chapters 2 and 3 and summarised in Section 4.7).
4.2 Current state and trends of Indigenous heritage values
Indigenous heritage recognises the heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are the First Australians and the Traditional Owners of the Great Barrier Reef. It is an important element in Indigenous custom and its preservation ensures continued recognition and respect for past generations of Traditional Owners and the ancestral beings that shaped the land, seas and waterways.1 Indigenous heritage is a unique, dynamic and diverse living heritage. Traditional Owners express their cultural heritage through their relationships with country, people, beliefs, knowledge, lore, language, symbols, ways of living, sea, land and objects. All of these arise from Indigenous spirituality and the responsibility of Traditional Owners to maintain their connection to their heritage through customary practices. Many traditional cultural practices include plants, animals and the environment, making nature inseparable from cultural identity.