''Geoparks Initiatives in Australia'Geoparks Initiatives in Australia'
International Workshop, 14th May 2018International Workshop, 14th May 2018
Angus M RobinsonAngus M Robinson
Chair, Geotourism Standing CommitteeChair, Geotourism Standing Committee
Geological Society of AustraliaGeological Society of Australia
Source: Savannah GuidesSource: Savannah Guides
Today’s AgendaToday’s Agenda
The Kanawinka Impasse and Progress ofThe Kanawinka Impasse and Progress of
Geotourism Development, 2008 to 2018Geotourism Development, 2008 to 2018
Pre-Aspiring Geopark Development in AustraliaPre-Aspiring Geopark Development in Australia
Community Issues and ConcernsCommunity Issues and Concerns
Sustainability and Community EngagementSustainability and Community Engagement
Geopark Assessment Process - Current StatusGeopark Assessment Process - Current Status
Socio-Economic Benefits of Geoparks in AustraliaSocio-Economic Benefits of Geoparks in Australia
The Geopark ‘Problem’ in Australia – 2008The Geopark ‘Problem’ in Australia – 2008
1.1. The concept of global geoparksThe concept of global geoparks not supported bynot supported by governmentgovernment
planning and tourism agencies;planning and tourism agencies; the conceptthe concept did not fit welldid not fit well
into the prevailing public land management arrangements,into the prevailing public land management arrangements,
underpinned by a two tier federation.underpinned by a two tier federation.
2.2. ConceptConcept not embraced or understood by the geologicalnot embraced or understood by the geological
professionsprofessions – no constituency support.– no constituency support.
3.3. Government Geological Surveys were not supportive ofGovernment Geological Surveys were not supportive of
geopark developmentgeopark development and geotourism generallyand geotourism generally,, with concernwith concern
aboutabout impact on access to lands for exploration and miningimpact on access to lands for exploration and mining..
4.4. Kanawinka UNESCO Global GeoparkKanawinka UNESCO Global Geopark withdrawn through lackwithdrawn through lack
of government support and approvalsof government support and approvals..
EPHC Decision, Nov 2009 (STILL ON THE BOOKS!)EPHC Decision, Nov 2009 (STILL ON THE BOOKS!)
""Environment and Heritage Ministers decided, after consultation withEnvironment and Heritage Ministers decided, after consultation with
Resource Management MinistersResource Management Ministers,, that whilst Australian governments support
geological heritage, they have significant concerns with the application of
the UNESCO Geoparks concept in Australia, especially without government
endorsement. Existing mechanisms are considered sufficient to protectExisting mechanisms are considered sufficient to protect
geoheritage in Australiageoheritage in Australia..
Council requested that the Australian Government advise UNESCO that
Australia would not recognise the Kanawinka Geopark because of thewould not recognise the Kanawinka Geopark because of the
deficient UNESCO process in declaring it.deficient UNESCO process in declaring it.
Council also requested the Australian Government ask UNESCO to take noUNESCO to take no
further action to recognise any future proposals for Australian members offurther action to recognise any future proposals for Australian members of
the Global Geoparks Network, or to further progress Geoparks initiativesthe Global Geoparks Network, or to further progress Geoparks initiatives
within Australia, including that for the Kanawinka Geopark, unless thewithin Australia, including that for the Kanawinka Geopark, unless the
formal agreement of the Australian Government has first been provided."formal agreement of the Australian Government has first been provided."
Kanawinka Global Geopark (27,000 sq km)
established in 2008, designation withdrawn in 2012
The Kanawinka Geopark - Rejected by Australian Government Agencies asThe Kanawinka Geopark - Rejected by Australian Government Agencies as
formal approvals not obtained prior to the nomination process.formal approvals not obtained prior to the nomination process.
Addressing The Geopark ‘Impasse’ in AustraliaAddressing The Geopark ‘Impasse’ in Australia
2011 to Present2011 to Present
1.1. Establishment by the GSA of theEstablishment by the GSA of the GeotourismGeotourism
Standing CommitteeStanding Committee,, defining geotourism.defining geotourism.
2.2. We gained the support ofWe gained the support of key geosciencekey geoscience
professional communitiesprofessional communities andand consulted widely withconsulted widely with
state government geological surveysstate government geological surveys..
3. We commencedWe commenced dialogue with various keydialogue with various key
government agencies.government agencies.
4.4. WeWe organised geotourism workshopsorganised geotourism workshops at variousat various
regional development and ecotourism conferences.regional development and ecotourism conferences.
5.5. WeWe championed Australian National Landscapeschampioned Australian National Landscapes..
Geological Society Assumes Role of VettingGeological Society Assumes Role of Vetting
UNESCO Global Geopark ProposalsUNESCO Global Geopark Proposals
In May 2017, the Governing Council of the Geological SocietyIn May 2017, the Governing Council of the Geological Society
of Australia decided to assign the Geotourism Standingof Australia decided to assign the Geotourism Standing
Committee the role ofCommittee the role of assessing the international geologicalassessing the international geological
merit of the current (and any future) pre-aspiring UNESCOmerit of the current (and any future) pre-aspiring UNESCO
global geopark proposalsglobal geopark proposals, based on the advice provided by, based on the advice provided by
the appointed geoscience/mining heritage reference groups.the appointed geoscience/mining heritage reference groups.
It was also decided that that any assessments are to beIt was also decided that that any assessments are to be
endorsed by the Governing Council before they are madeendorsed by the Governing Council before they are made
known publicly.known publicly.
Australia’s Pre-Aspiring UNESCO GlobalAustralia’s Pre-Aspiring UNESCO Global
Geopark Development Efforts, 2017/2018Geopark Development Efforts, 2017/2018
Status of Pre-Aspiring UNESCO Global GeoparksStatus of Pre-Aspiring UNESCO Global Geoparks
Pre-Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark proposals arePre-Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark proposals are
those undergoing assessment to obtain community &those undergoing assessment to obtain community &
government supportgovernment support PRIOR to any applicationPRIOR to any application..
EtheridgeEtheridge Scenic Area is a ‘defacto geopark’ and isScenic Area is a ‘defacto geopark’ and is
nownow NOTNOT subject to any assessment process.subject to any assessment process.
TheThe WarrumbungleWarrumbungle Pre-Aspiring UNESCO GlobalPre-Aspiring UNESCO Global
GeoparkGeopark proposal has been abandonedproposal has been abandoned and insteadand instead
a strategy to engage with the GSNSW to develop ana strategy to engage with the GSNSW to develop an
alternative geotourism strategyalternative geotourism strategy for the Region willfor the Region will
now be considered by the three Councils.now be considered by the three Councils.
Etheridge ‘Defacto’ Geopark, QueenslandEtheridge ‘Defacto’ Geopark, Queensland
Comprising theComprising the entire Shire ofentire Shire of
EtheridgeEtheridge, and including areas, and including areas
of outstanding volcanic andof outstanding volcanic and
mining heritage - some 40,000mining heritage - some 40,000
sq km in area.sq km in area.
Embracing 1.7 billion years ofEmbracing 1.7 billion years of
geological history.geological history.
Only 950 people, mainly cattleOnly 950 people, mainly cattle
Etheridge Scenic Area – A ‘Defacto’ GeoparkEtheridge Scenic Area – A ‘Defacto’ Geopark
GeositesGeosites –– In abundance, with Undara as a global icon.In abundance, with Undara as a global icon.
Geo villagesGeo villages –– Four small townships, all with communityFour small townships, all with community
engaged geosites (including agate, sapphire and gold fields);engaged geosites (including agate, sapphire and gold fields);
key establishedkey established ecotourism resortsecotourism resorts of Undara & Cobboldof Undara & Cobbold
GeotrailsGeotrails –– The Savannah Way (The Savannah Way (Lava tubes, Gems and GorgesLava tubes, Gems and Gorges
TrailTrail) with connections to nearby mining heritage locations.) with connections to nearby mining heritage locations.
National ParksNational Parks –– Undara Volcanic Park & six other park areas.Undara Volcanic Park & six other park areas.
TerrEstrial Mineral/Fossil MuseumTerrEstrial Mineral/Fossil Museum–– Most significant mineralMost significant mineral
museum in Qld.museum in Qld.
ManyMany heritage mining sitesheritage mining sites & small gold mining operations& small gold mining operations
underscores Etheridge’s status of one Australia’s mostunderscores Etheridge’s status of one Australia’s most
diversified mineralised areas.diversified mineralised areas.
Tallaroo Hot Springs – Ewamian Aboriginal CorporationTallaroo Hot Springs – Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation
TerrEstrial Museum and Global Peace MonumentTerrEstrial Museum and Global Peace Monument
Assessment Process – Etheridge ProjectAssessment Process – Etheridge Project
1.1. Appointment of both aAppointment of both a Geotourism AdvisoryGeotourism Advisory
CommitteeCommittee and aand a Geoscience & Mineral HeritageGeoscience & Mineral Heritage
Reference GroupReference Group..
2.2. Consultation with all key stakeholders (e.g.Consultation with all key stakeholders (e.g.
indigenous communitiesindigenous communities, national parks, tourism, national parks, tourism
resorts) undertaking individual self- assessments.resorts) undertaking individual self- assessments.
3.3. Consultation with key State Government agencies.Consultation with key State Government agencies.
4.4. Community consultationCommunity consultation – information bulletins,– information bulletins,
public meetings involving Shire Councillors.public meetings involving Shire Councillors.
A relatively short 12 month period allowed for theA relatively short 12 month period allowed for the
assessment and application completion process.assessment and application completion process.
Community Raised Issues – Etheridge ProjectCommunity Raised Issues – Etheridge Project
1.1. National Parks, indigenous groups, and residents of townshipsNational Parks, indigenous groups, and residents of townships
are very supportiveare very supportive, because they understand the economic, because they understand the economic
benefits of tourism.benefits of tourism.
2.2. However,However, agricultural, small scale mining groups & gemstoneagricultural, small scale mining groups & gemstone
fossickers not supportivefossickers not supportive with a vigorous programwith a vigorous program
implemented to dissuade Council from finalising theimplemented to dissuade Council from finalising the
applicationapplication because a Global Geopark upsets the status quo!because a Global Geopark upsets the status quo!
3.3. Issues raised were essentiallyIssues raised were essentially fears of UNESCO control, morefears of UNESCO control, more
environmental regulationenvironmental regulation and increased levels of tourism.and increased levels of tourism.
4.4. The labels ofThe labels of UNESCO, GEOPARK, EcotourismUNESCO, GEOPARK, Ecotourism etc raised aetc raised a
range of concerns and fears.range of concerns and fears.
Basis of Landowner Resistance to the then Pre-Basis of Landowner Resistance to the then Pre-
Aspiring Etheridge Global GeoparkAspiring Etheridge Global Geopark
1. The proposed UNESCO affiliation promoted a1. The proposed UNESCO affiliation promoted a fear of
further regulation and restrictions curbing currentcurbing current
and future activities and potentially leading to aand future activities and potentially leading to a
World Heritage Listing.World Heritage Listing.
2. The2. The large area of the applicationlarge area of the application across the wholeacross the whole
Shire which included large land tracts which wereShire which included large land tracts which were
considered unlikely to be of interest for tourism.considered unlikely to be of interest for tourism.
33. The use of the term ‘geopark’. The use of the term ‘geopark’ which was interpretedwhich was interpreted
by many to imply some form of existing or potentialby many to imply some form of existing or potential
environmental protection (aligned to an expandedenvironmental protection (aligned to an expanded
national parks network).national parks network).
An Alternative Strategy for the EtheridgeAn Alternative Strategy for the Etheridge
‘Defacto Geopark’‘Defacto Geopark’
Council has now approved the development of anCouncil has now approved the development of an
alternative major geotourism initiative whichalternative major geotourism initiative which
captures the aspirations of a pre-existing tourismcaptures the aspirations of a pre-existing tourism
strategy,strategy, providingproviding additional natural and culturaladditional natural and cultural
heritage contentheritage content..
Through collaboration with other local governmentThrough collaboration with other local government
areas,areas, the establishment of strong geotrail linkagesthe establishment of strong geotrail linkages
with geotourism attractions outside of the Shire.with geotourism attractions outside of the Shire.
Engaging graziersEngaging graziers in geotourism pilot projects.in geotourism pilot projects.
Sustainability & Community EngagementSustainability & Community Engagement
Etheridge ‘Defacto Geopark’Etheridge ‘Defacto Geopark’
Emulating a program being undertaken in the UnitedEmulating a program being undertaken in the United
Kingdom, it is proposed that aKingdom, it is proposed that a ‘geovillage’ approach be‘geovillage’ approach be
adopted for the Shire of Etheridgeadopted for the Shire of Etheridge; thus enabling individual; thus enabling individual
townships to take unique ownership of any activity e.g.townships to take unique ownership of any activity e.g.
community operated museum which has a natural or culturalcommunity operated museum which has a natural or cultural
heritage characteristic.heritage characteristic.
Two of the small townships have strong associations withTwo of the small townships have strong associations with
agates and gems, and another has strong mining industryagates and gems, and another has strong mining industry
heritage. The main township ,Georgetown, already has theheritage. The main township ,Georgetown, already has the
TerrEstrial Centre mineral and fossil museumTerrEstrial Centre mineral and fossil museum which mightwhich might
benefit from even a higher level of community involvementbenefit from even a higher level of community involvement
and the recently establishedand the recently established Peace MonumentPeace Monument has alreadyhas already
made its mark.made its mark.
Etheridge Scenic Area – The Rationale forEtheridge Scenic Area – The Rationale for
A ‘Defacto’ GeoparkA ‘Defacto’ Geopark
Council recognises that a ‘geotourism’ project should takeCouncil recognises that a ‘geotourism’ project should take
account ofaccount of ‘georegional’ characteristics based on geological‘georegional’ characteristics based on geological
and mining heritageand mining heritage and embraced principles that could serveand embraced principles that could serve
toto pre-qualify the area for a UNESCO application at somepre-qualify the area for a UNESCO application at some
future timefuture time, in other words meeting the designated, in other words meeting the designated
requirements of a ‘defacto’ geopark.requirements of a ‘defacto’ geopark.
By raising awareness of the importance of the area’sBy raising awareness of the importance of the area’s
geological heritage in history & society today, Councilgeological heritage in history & society today, Council
believes that thisbelieves that this project must provide local communitiesproject must provide local communities
with a sense of pride in their region and strengthen theirwith a sense of pride in their region and strengthen their
identification with the area.identification with the area.
Pre-AspiringPre-Aspiring Warrumbungles UNESCO Global GeoparkWarrumbungles UNESCO Global Geopark
New South WalesNew South Wales
CurrentlyCurrently comprising the Shires of Warrumbungle,comprising the Shires of Warrumbungle,
Gilgandra and Coonamble, 27,000 sq kmGilgandra and Coonamble, 27,000 sq km
Pre -AspiringPre -Aspiring WarrumbunglesWarrumbungles
UNESCO Global GeoparkUNESCO Global Geopark
New South WalesNew South Wales
Outstanding MioceneOutstanding Miocene
Shield Volcano remnantShield Volcano remnant
landforms close to alandforms close to a
major coal developmentmajor coal development
area located in thearea located in the
Warrumbungles NationalWarrumbungles National
ParkPark (236 square km area)(236 square km area)
at theat the intersection of theintersection of the
three local governmentthree local government
The Warrumbungle Geopark ‘Stumbling Block’The Warrumbungle Geopark ‘Stumbling Block’
There is concern within the State Government GeologicalThere is concern within the State Government Geological
Survey that the establishment of any designation with someSurvey that the establishment of any designation with some
form of nominal ‘park’ status would result in land useform of nominal ‘park’ status would result in land use
conflicts with interests which are anti-mining in nature.conflicts with interests which are anti-mining in nature. TheThe
Survey would prefer that the geopark be contained onlySurvey would prefer that the geopark be contained only
within the National Park.within the National Park.
One solution that was considered isOne solution that was considered is acceptance of theacceptance of the
Survey’s preferred option and developing geotrailsSurvey’s preferred option and developing geotrails to includeto include
other key landscapes (Mt Kaputar, Coolah Topsother key landscapes (Mt Kaputar, Coolah Tops) in the) in the
regional volcanic ‘geoprovince’.regional volcanic ‘geoprovince’.
Proposed GSNSW Support ofProposed GSNSW Support of
Warrumbungle Geotourism ProjectWarrumbungle Geotourism Project
GSNSW has already committed resources toGSNSW has already committed resources to
upgrading geological interpretation within theupgrading geological interpretation within the
Warrumbungle National Park.Warrumbungle National Park.
Assist in developing aAssist in developing a Geotrail network across theGeotrail network across the
GSNSW has assisted the University of Newcastle inGSNSW has assisted the University of Newcastle in
developing adeveloping a coastal geotrail at Port Macquarie.coastal geotrail at Port Macquarie.
GSNSW has publishedGSNSW has published geotrail brochuresgeotrail brochures for thefor the
Lower Hunter Region atLower Hunter Region at NewcastleNewcastle & at& at Broken HillBroken Hill..
UNESCO Global Geopark and SustainabilityUNESCO Global Geopark and Sustainability
‘‘Even if an area has outstanding, world-famous geologicalEven if an area has outstanding, world-famous geological
heritage of outstanding universal valueheritage of outstanding universal value it cannot be ait cannot be a
UNESCO Global Geopark unless the area also has a plan forUNESCO Global Geopark unless the area also has a plan for
the sustainable development of the people who live there.’the sustainable development of the people who live there.’
‘‘Unless a UNESCO Global Geopark has the support of localUnless a UNESCO Global Geopark has the support of local
people it will not succeedpeople it will not succeed. UNESCO Global Geopark status. UNESCO Global Geopark status
does not imply restrictions on any economic activity inside adoes not imply restrictions on any economic activity inside a
UNESCO Global Geopark where that activity complies withUNESCO Global Geopark where that activity complies with
indigenous, local, regional and/or national legislation.’indigenous, local, regional and/or national legislation.’
Source: UNESCO Global Geopark Brochure
The Proposed Geopark Approval ProcessThe Proposed Geopark Approval Process
1.1. STAGE ONESTAGE ONE: Undertake a 'GeoRegion' Assessment including anndertake a 'GeoRegion' Assessment including an assessment of theassessment of the
most viable geotourism delivery mechanism available.most viable geotourism delivery mechanism available.
2.2. SShould a geopark option be favoured, initiate discussions with thehould a geopark option be favoured, initiate discussions with the StateState
Geological SurveyGeological Survey and relevant planning agencies toand relevant planning agencies to obtain approval 'in principle'obtain approval 'in principle'..
Undertake economic benefit analysis if required.Undertake economic benefit analysis if required.
3.3. Initiate extensive community consultation and finalise stipulated nominationInitiate extensive community consultation and finalise stipulated nomination
documentation fordocumentation for formal approval of the State Governmentformal approval of the State Government.
4.4. Submit the proposal to aSubmit the proposal to a proposed tripartite assessment bodyproposed tripartite assessment body comprisingcomprising
representatives of UNESCO, the Australian Government and a geosciencerepresentatives of UNESCO, the Australian Government and a geoscience
reference group.reference group.
IF APPROVED, DURING THE SECOND STAGEIF APPROVED, DURING THE SECOND STAGE, lodge alodge a letter of intentletter of intent with thewith the
Australian UNESCO representative andAustralian UNESCO representative and then the nomination documentationthen the nomination documentation bby they the
stipulated deadline.stipulated deadline.
Recommendations - Eurobodalla Shire CouncilRecommendations - Eurobodalla Shire Council
Any geopark proposal should, in the early stages of geoparkAny geopark proposal should, in the early stages of geopark
assessment, adopt a nomenclature which removes referenceassessment, adopt a nomenclature which removes reference
to the word ‘geopark’ andto the word ‘geopark’ and focus instead on communicatingfocus instead on communicating
the concept of a ‘georegion’.the concept of a ‘georegion’.
Undertake a full audit of natural and cultural heritageUndertake a full audit of natural and cultural heritage
attributes in the region as well as early discussions with theattributes in the region as well as early discussions with the
Geological Survey of NSWGeological Survey of NSW,, the Department of Planning andthe Department of Planning and
Environment, and the NSW National Parks and WildlifeEnvironment, and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife
Service, and any other state government agencies.Service, and any other state government agencies.
Develop aDevelop a close relationship with the ‘Australia’s Coastalclose relationship with the ‘Australia’s Coastal
Wilderness’ National LandscapeWilderness’ National Landscape andand Sapphire Coast TourismSapphire Coast Tourism..
Seek out potential collaboration opportunities withSeek out potential collaboration opportunities with ChineseChinese
UNESCO Global Geoparks.UNESCO Global Geoparks.
Socio-Economic Benefits of Geopark DevelopmentSocio-Economic Benefits of Geopark Development
1.1. Measurable economic benefits -Measurable economic benefits - additional visitors, direct &additional visitors, direct &
regional economic output, household income & wages, andregional economic output, household income & wages, and
local employment.local employment.
2.2. Through establishment of a management entity,Through establishment of a management entity, higher levelhigher level
of centralised coordinationof centralised coordination in areas of product development,in areas of product development,
travel and hospitality services, tourism promotion/branding.travel and hospitality services, tourism promotion/branding.
3.3. Maximisation of sustainable development and management ofMaximisation of sustainable development and management of
'over tourism''over tourism'/e.g. emerging issue in Tasmania./e.g. emerging issue in Tasmania.
4.4. Provides aProvides a framework for focus on the 10 UNESCO Topicsframework for focus on the 10 UNESCO Topics e.g.e.g.
culture, education, climate change, geoconservation,culture, education, climate change, geoconservation,
sustainable development etc.sustainable development etc.
5.5. Through its defined mission,Through its defined mission,community engagement iscommunity engagement is
maximised and measured.maximised and measured.
UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARKS
Economic Impact Study 1: United KingdomUNESCO
Znanost i Kulturu
Number of Sites
61.1 M GBP 28 2.2 M GBP
Global Geoparks 18.8 M GBP 6.5 2.9 M GBP
2.9 M GBP 16 0.18 M GBP
2.3 M GBP 6 0.38 M GBP
Everything Else 4.3 M GBP n/a
TOTAL 89.4 M GBP
Wider Value of UNESCO to the UK (2012-2013): www.unesco.org.uk
Key FactorsKey Factors
Geopark Development In Australia - 2018Geopark Development In Australia - 2018
Pre-Aspiring Geopark development needs to bePre-Aspiring Geopark development needs to be state/localstate/local
government agencygovernment agency initiatedinitiated and supportedand supported..
AA high level of community (including other land-user)high level of community (including other land-user)
engagementengagement is essential to meet UNESCO requirements.is essential to meet UNESCO requirements.
The key driver of geopark development must be focused on
regional developmentregional development – i.e.– i.e. jobs and growth andjobs and growth and demonstratedemonstrate
economic benefit to offset perceived political riskeconomic benefit to offset perceived political risk..
TheThe approval of Government Geological Surveysapproval of Government Geological Surveys for individualfor individual
projects is an absolute necessity.projects is an absolute necessity.
Australian Government approval for UNESCO nomination mayAustralian Government approval for UNESCO nomination may
well be achieved ifwell be achieved if state/territory government endorsementstate/territory government endorsement
and funding is clearly establishedand funding is clearly established..
Take-Aways - Geopark Development in AustraliaTake-Aways - Geopark Development in Australia
More focusMore focus needs to be appliedneeds to be applied to communicatingto communicating
the ‘georegionalthe ‘georegional’ nature of geoparks.’ nature of geoparks.
More work is needed to overcomeMore work is needed to overcome perceived fearsperceived fears
about the detrimental impact of geoparksabout the detrimental impact of geoparks on otheron other
existing land users such as miners and farmers.existing land users such as miners and farmers.
Geopark proposalsGeopark proposals must be supported by Geologicalmust be supported by Geological
Survey communitiesSurvey communities..
More time must be allowedMore time must be allowed to gain communityto gain community
engagement/support to ensure geoparkengagement/support to ensure geopark
Need toNeed to compile and promote quantifiable data andcompile and promote quantifiable data and
analysis to establish socio-economic benefit.analysis to establish socio-economic benefit.
Contact DetailsContact Details
Tel: + 61 418 488 340Tel: + 61 418 488 340
Information about Australian Geotourism and Geopark Development Activities:Information about Australian Geotourism and Geopark Development Activities: