The Norfolk Island community deserves a promising future Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA)

Joint Media Release

03 September 2015

The Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) on Norfolk Island was one of 11 sites around the country to be included the Australian Convict Sites UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2010.

It is at the heart of early Australian history, stretching back to 1788, and it is also at the heart of the people of Norfolk Island, since 1856. Many Island residents have lived history within the buildings and open spaces of the convict heritage site.

World Heritage Listing provides opportunities, but also entails obligations. Both require expertise and strategic planning to deliver upon.

Critically, KAVHA is central to the tourism industry on Norfolk Island today.

The high expectations of being part of the UNESCO World Heritage Listing have been unmet to date. The current Board is not structured to provide dynamic leadership of the site. The Memorandum of Understanding is focused on funding arrangements, without sufficient strategic policy setting.

Recent extensive community consultation on the draft heritage management plan shows the community wants KAHVA to be a living and vibrant site which offers a positive visitor experience, continued access for the community and economic opportunity.

It is recognized an effective governance arrangement must be put in place to meet our obligations and reap the rewards of being a World Heritage Listed site.

The Australian Government is committed to supporting the Island and its economic future.

What is needed now is a positive plan for KAVHA. Just like many in the local community, we are impatient for action.

We need a new approach and a new Board to progress a positive plan for the future, which creates new employment and sensitive commercial opportunities, along with conservation and rehabilitation of the site. The new arrangement must provide ongoing opportunity for community engagement, recreational use and everyday practices so many individuals enjoy and which are consistent with this significant World Heritage Site.

The Hon Gary Hardgrave
Territory of Norfolk Island

Melissa Ward
Norfolk Island Advisory Council