July 2022

With the recent change of State Ministers and a new Federal Government together with some important developments in the project we felt it was timely to provide this mid-year update.

1 :: Elevating the region

At the state level there have been significant changes in Ministerial portfolios relevant to the bid. As a result, the Mayors of Ballarat and Greater Bendigo have written to retiring or outgoing Ministers who held portfolios where we had significant support and advocacy (Wynne – Planning and Thomas – Regional Development). The Mayors expressed their appreciation and encouraged them to brief their new Ministerial colleagues on the important and transformative outcomes that World Heritage listing will bring.

The Mayors have also written to relevant new Ministers, other Ministers who hold portfolios relevant to the bid and its capacity to transform the region. They refer to the work and support of their predecessors, provide information on the project and seek meetings to ensure that they are aware of the level of support and potential of World Heritage listing. New ministers include:

  • The Hon Lizzie Blandthorn Minister for Planning
  • The Hon Harriet Shing Minister for Regional Development
  • The Hon Steve Dimopolous Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events and Minister for Creative Industries
  • The Hon Ben Carroll Minister for Industry Support and Recovery, Minister for Business Precincts, Minister for Public Transport and Minister for Roads and Road Safety.
Local Members Jacinta Allan and Jaala Pulford and relevant department heads have been cc’d and future correspondence is planned for The Hon Gabrielle Williams Minister for Treaty and First Peoples.
With the Federal and State Governments now aligned, several advocacy initiatives are about to get underway. We are preparing to brief relevant Members of Parliament and three new Ministers, in particular:

  • Minister for the Environment, Tanya Plibersek, who is responsible for World Heritage
  • Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King (Member for Ballarat), a portfolio strongly linked to our advocacy for the project around regional jobs and investment
  • Minister for Trade and Tourism, Donald Farrell
  • Lisa Chesters (Member for Bendigo)
  • Dr Anne Webster (Member for Mallee)
  • Other relevant Federal Ministers and members, as applicable.

We’re excited to announce that Mr. Stephen Oxley, Former First Assistant Secretary Heritage, Reef and Marine Division, Australian Department of the Environment in Canberra, has joined the Goldfields World Heritage bid in the (voluntary) role of strategic advisor. Stephen shares this role with renowned UK World Heritage expert Barry Gamble and highly respected World Heritage advisor and lecturer Kristal Buckley AM.

Stephen first heard about the bid when invited to speak at our 2020 Expert Summit. At the time he reflected our approach is ‘best practice’ and a model for others.

Stephen recently retired and moved to the goldfields in 2021. He was the Australian Government’s most senior representative on the World Heritage Committee and is a highly experienced and respected individual at the most senior levels of federal government. His support and belief in the bid will add gravitas for Canberra.

Read more

The decision to hold Commonwealth Games events in regional venues, including Ballarat and Bendigo in early 2026, aligns closely with the World Heritage nomination target of 2026/27.

Events in Ballarat and Bendigo also provide the opportunity for both cities to capitalise on the promotional value of their UNESCO Creative Cities Network designation. Ballarat’s designation in the category of Craft and Folk Art and Bendigo’s in Gastronomy enable both cities to reach out and emphasise the importance of how they draw on their wider region.

The high profile of UNESCO recognition, combined with Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage designation – one of the most recognised cultural tourism brands in the world – provide significant marketing opportunities. By combining these international recognised brands with designated World Heritage Journeys to disperse visitors throughout the region – the entire region is poised to benefit from the exposure provided by the Commonwealth Games.

If you would like to investigate linkages between the Commonwealth Games and the World Heritage bid further, please contact us.

Mr. Stephen Oxley, former First Assistant Secretary Heritage, Reef and Marine Division, Australian Department of the Environment, joins our campaign

2 :: What’s on

Following on from TRC Tourism’s work delivering the Sustainable Tourism Investment Priorities report in 2021, the firm has been re-engaged to complete an initial region-wide economic analysis of the potential benefits of World Heritage inscription and the recommended investment.

The findings of this economic analysis can be used for lobbying and advocacy purposes. A future more detailed analysis, at both the state and regional level, will importantly include the full potential contribution to GDP, tourism investment and visitor numbers of World Heritage listing of the goldfields. This analysis will also include robust modelling of the full economic benefits of identified World Heritage priority projects.

The report is scheduled for delivery at the end of July 2022 and will be distributed to all LGAs to assist with advocacy and determining project priorities.

To view the Sustainable Tourism Investment Priorities report, log into the government partner pages or you can contact us.

RDV are working hard to secure funding for us to progress World Heritage site selection and deliver the Sustainable Tourism Investment Masterplan. We await further advice and will notify partners and stakeholders when this funding is determined. Until this time, we encourage partners to continue advocating to the new Minister Regional Development and RDV.
In March, all Councils were asked to review the major clusters of goldrush era sites we have identified in their LGA to ensure any sites with potential aren’t missed. Ultimately, only a dozen or so from across the region will achieve World Heritage status. The bid team has also met with several local community groups to explore their local heritage and opportunities to bring socio-economic benefits.  

Thank you to all the local governments who have responded to date.

If you have not yet reviewed your LGA’s sites, would like to put us in touch with local community groups who can help, or if you need some assistance, please contact us asap.

The report containing all 17 investigation areas across the Central Victorian Goldfields region is viewable here (username: Goldfield_Viewer and password: ViewThe Data21!).

UK World Heritage expert, Barry Gamble, was in Canberra meeting with the Australian Government recently re World Heritage matters and took the opportunity to discuss our bid. Feedback has been positive. During Barry’s visit we arranged a briefing for Heritage Victoria’s Executive Director and senior policy officers to continue to build confidence in the bid’s potential for success. Excerpts from the meeting on 22 June 2022 are viewable here:

Socio-economic benefits of World Heritage

  1. Economic benefits of World Heritage
  2. Benefits potential of the goldfields.

Detailing the World Heritage expert process (for heritage professionals) 

    1. World Heritage trends and changes
    2. Comparing Victoria’s goldfields globally
    3. Selecting the sites
    4. World Heritage and legal protections
    5. Categories of heritage

Did you know everything we’re doing is available to Council Officers on our website? Register with your .vic.gov.au email address or if you have, log in, to access the ‘government partners’ resources page and:

• track our progress

• download councillor packs

• find project and bid reports

• find tourism tools

• watch project videos

and much more!

Watch UK World Heritage expert, Barry Gamble, explain how benefitting from World Heritage is highly achievable in our region (1:08 minutes).

3 :: About the bid

Information for advocacy efforts is below.

And don’t forget our Goldfields World Heritage prospectus is online. If you would like hardcopies of the prospectus, please contact us.

In working together, this regional project has the capacity in the short, medium and long term to:

  • produce a significant transformation of the whole region and in fact the state
  • significantly drive added tourism numbers and private sector investment
  • stimulate economic activity, regenerate the region, and create sustained jobs throughout the region
  • drive further population growth across the region noting that in the five years from 2016 to 2021 the region grew by over 47,000 people, an average in excess of 2% per annum
  • target support to disadvantaged communities and low population growth parts of the region
  • strengthen the benefits to be derived from locating the Commonwealth Games in 2026 in regional Victoria – specifically in Ballarat and Bendigo, by extending visitation and spend and developing world class travel journeys to drive those benefits throughout the region
  • through a UNESCO World Heritage listing and the Commonwealth Games further enable Ballarat and Bendigo and their regions to capitalise on their admission to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the categories of Craft and Folk Art (Ballarat) and Gastronomy (Bendigo)
  • support and resource smaller councils who struggle to adequately conserve their rich gold rush heritage
  • provide meaningful engagement with willing Traditional Owners to share in the storytelling and benefits of World Heritage Listing
  • propel the region and its many communities together with Melbourne and Victoria considerably further onto the world stage.

It is difficult to imagine another initiative that would have the level of impact that the process of applying for World Heritage recognition, targeted supporting investment, and the realisation of its ultimate objectives and outcomes would have on the region and the state.

Read more in our bid prospectus.

It is a UNESCO requirement to prepare a comparative analysis to demonstrate the importance of the Central Victorian Goldfields region in its national and international context; in other words, to show that there is room on the World Heritage List for the proposed nomination, and also that there are broadly no other better candidates.

In this work, Barry Gamble – UK World Heritage expert on mining found that – [The] ‘Central Victorian Goldfields is an exceptional cultural landscape that is directly and tangibly associated with the transnational phenomenon of goldrushes that date from 1849-1900. These events are of outstanding universal significance..’ and that the ‘Central Victorian Goldfields stands out as exceptional among global goldrushes, and pre-eminent in the context of potential for the World Heritage listing of a representative cultural landscape’.

In a worldwide comparative analysis of over 40 goldrushes Gamble found that the Central Victorian Goldfields; ‘represents the most extensive, coherent and best-surviving landscape, anywhere that illustrates the global goldrush phenomenon of the second half of the nineteenth century in all its technological, social and environmental character and consequences…Quite simply, it is unparalleled.’

World Heritage Journeys are a core component of the Central Victorian Goldfields Masterplan and a key element of the Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage Bid. They will be:

  • signature touring routes with thematic storylines that focus on the region’s strengths – heritage, culture, culinary and creatives but will extend across various Regional Tourism Board (RTB) boundaries and will be designed to complement and extend on their individual RTB core offerings
  • designed and designated to provide multiple entry points to the region including linking to other international tourism features and places, major heritage attractions and other high-profile attractions
  • supported by leading digital information strategies and contemporary navigation, world class infrastructure, products and experiences and World Heritage experience centres.

The whole bid proposes to extensively leverage World Heritage inscription, which is the most ‘recognised’ cultural tourism brand in the world and is viewed as a ‘hallmark of quality’.

The World Heritage Journey model was introduced by UNESCO and has since been applied in various ways, such as Scotland’s world’s first UNESCO trail. This is a unique project, linking Scotland’s most important cultural, historical, and natural sites, as well as their UNESCO Creative City designations, making it easier for tourists to discover the diverse range of experiences that Scotland has to offer.

Building on this model in Central Victoria would link the region to other major touring routes such as the Great Ocean Road, the Great Southern Touring Route, the Grampians, the Sydney to Melbourne Touring Route, the Silo Art Trails and other World Heritage and internationally recognised sites such as Budj Bim and the Naracoorte Caves.  The approach would also link to Ballarat and Bendigo’s designation as UNESCO Creative Cities, especially with both cities taking a regional approach to their designation.

Watch UK World Heritage expert, Barry Gamble, detail the findings from his World Heritage Comparative Analysis for the Central Victorian Goldfields region (9.19 minutes). 

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