is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an intergovernmental
treaty which provides the framework for national action and international
cooperation for the conservation and wise
use of wetlands and their resources.
and the Convention
under the Ramsar Convention:
Parties commit themselves to:
at least one site that meets the Ramsar criteria for inclusion
in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar
List), and ensure the maintenance of the ecological character
of each Ramsar site. Countries are expected to include in the
List as many wetlands that meet the criteria as possible...
wetland conservation within their national land-use planning,
so as to promote the wise use of all wetlands within their territory;
nature reserves on wetlands, and promote training in wetland
research, management and wardening;
with other Parties about the implementation of the Convention,
especially with regard to transfrontier wetlands, shared water
systems, shared species, and development projects affecting
the Ramsar Convention is implemented primarily under State and Territory
legislation although all three levels of government - Federal, State/Territory
and local governments - are involved to varying degrees in land
and water management decisions.
Federal and State and Territory Environment Ministers make up the
Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC).
ANZECC provides a national forum to discuss issues and formulate
Wetlands Network is a working group of ANZECC consisting of wetlands
experts from the Federal and each State and Territory nature conservation
agency. One of the important tasks of the network is to coordinate
the implementation of the Convention on Wetlands of International
Importance (Ramsar Convention). The Australian Nature Conservation
Agency convenes this network. Through the National Wetlands Program,
the Federal Government assists the States and Territories with
appropriate initiatives such as the preparation of management
plans for Ramsar sites and with the completion of wetland inventories.
(Biodiversity Group 2000)
and the Convention
6th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties Brisbane
held in Australia in 1996 Recommendation
6.1: Conservation of Peatlands was passed. It recognised the
value of peatlands and called on the contracting parties, including
Australia, to develop, adopt and implement regionally based peatland
management guidelines such as the IUCN Guidelines for the Sustainable
Utilization and Integrated Management of Tropical Peatlands.
It also recommended the development and adoption of national policies
for peatland conservation.
of the principle expectations of the Convention is that Contracting
Parties will not only promote and protect sites nominated under
the "List of Wetlands of International Importance", but they will
also encourage and promote the "wise use" of all other wetlands
within that country and surrounding regions. Wingecarribee Swamp
has been assessed by New South Wales as a wetland of "national"
importance and is listed in the publication A Directory of Important
Wetlands in Australia (2nd ed) (1996). (Forbes, 1997)
to the Biodiversity Group of Environment Australia in 1997, Wingecarribee
Swamp would have met The
Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance.
Forbes, Assistant Secretary Sustainable Water Branch, Biodiversity
Group, Environment Australia, Mining Warden's Inquiry, 24 April
1997, Exhibit 99.
Group, Ramsar in Australia, http://www.environment.gov.au/bg/environm/wetlands/
ramsar/ramaust.htm, Environment Australia, 2000.
Ramsar Convention website, http://www.ramsar.org/.
Info Pack, What
is the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands?, The official Ramsar Convention
and Peatlands, http://www.ramsar.org/about_peat.htm,
The official Ramsar Convention website, 9 June 1998.
global action plan for the wise use and management of peatlands,
7th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the
Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971), San Josˇ, Costa Rica,
10-18 May 1999