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Dent Island lease arrangements

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7.6. Dent Island lease arrangements

Three lessees have lease arrangements with the Commonwealth for the Commonwealth part of Dent Island.

  • The private lease relates to the use of the island for the maintenance and operation of a golf course (including ancillary services associated with the operation of the golf course), accommodation for caretakers, and education and interpretative services, and any other purpose approved in writing by the GBRMPA, and requires the lessee to comply with the requirements set out in this heritage management plan.

    • Part of Lot 2 (Lease B) – Lighthouse Area commenced on 3 November 1989;

    • Lot 4 – Resort Area commenced on 3 November 1989.

  • The AMSA lease for Lot 1 and the rest of Lot 2 (Lease A) relates to the ongoing operation of the lighthouse. It runs from 25 July 2003 for 99 years. The lease stipulates that AMSA retains ownership of the lighthouse and is responsible for its maintenance.

  • The Marine Safety Queensland (MSQ) lease for Lot 3 for aid to navigation purposes commenced in 1994 and runs for 50 years.

7.6.1. Private lease

Conditions of the lease ensure that the lessee must assist with conserving and maintaining the lightstation to the reasonable standard required by a heritage management plan. The lessee must give the GBRMPA prior notice before commencing any works and GBRMPA must assess potential impacts. The lessee is currently using the former lightkeepers’ cottages for staff accommodation, and the associated buildings are used for storage.

7.6.2. AMSA lease

AMSA leases Lot 1 (58 m2) and small area (i.e. Lease A) of Lot 2 (Figure — The areas leased by AMSA). Lot 1 contains the lighthouse and AMSA personnel and contractors need to cross the surrounding area in order to access this lighthouse. Easements over the surrounding lease permit this.

7.6.3. MSQ lease

Maritime Safety Queensland leases Lot 3 which is a 1.662 ha area. This is for the purpose of future aids to navigation and contains an option for the installation of a helipad in a position approved by the GBRMPA.

8. Heritage management policies

The following conservation policies are provided to guide the management of the Commonwealth Heritage values for the Dent Island Lightstation, in a manner consistent with the Commonwealth Hheritage management principles.

In this chapter the words in italics have the meanings defined in the Burra Charter — definitions of these terms are reproduced in Appendix 10.2. The policies aim to protect and conserve the heritage values. To assist this objective, where necessary, the policies are supported by implementation strategies. A commentary is also provided to explain the context of each policy.

8.1. Principles

8.1.1. Issue 1: Basis for decisions

Policy 1: The cultural significance of the lightstation will be the basis for deciding how to manage it


The matters to be conserved are the heritage values of the place. Although the heritage values of the place (its cultural significance) may be expressed in intangible terms, these values can usually be related to, or can be seen to be represented by, the fabric of a place. Actions to conserve the fabric will therefore largely conserve the significance of the place.

Implementation strategy

  • Conserve the lightstation to protect and interpret its historical significance.

  • Ensure the continuation of past residential and current uses that maintain the original fabric of the site.

  • Use the Burra Charter as the primary guide for the treatment of fabric (The Burra Charter is the primary reference for managing the heritage values of historic places).

8.1.2. Issue 2: The lightstation setting

Policy 2: Protect the visual setting of the lightstation by maintaining its natural character

Historically, the lightstation was an intensely used and modified landscape, in contrast to its setting, which showed fewer signs of human modification.

Implementation strategy

  • Do not permit the intrusion of new structures or alterations in the landscape around the lightstation (300m2).

8.2. Processes

8.2.1. Issue 3: Planning conservation works

Policy 3: Seek expert heritage advice and apply best heritage practice when considering works proposals or changes to the lightstation or when considering major changes to resort facilities


The development of this heritage management plan has involved consultation with stakeholders and the public.

At appropriate times, advice may be sought from the Australian Heritage Council, from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities — Heritage and Wildlife Division, or from the Minister. Advice will be sought if significant impact on the heritage place is expected, or if there is conflict between the management of heritage values and the operational requirements of the GBRMPA or its lessees.
The GBRMPA will seek heritage advice, where required, upon receipt of any proposals for development, adaptive re-use, or notification of damage to the heritage values of the lightstation or archaeological discoveries. This ensures that the integrity of the heritage values of the lightstation is maintained. Advice may be from an internal source, other government agencies, the Minister or from an independent expert source, as appropriate.
As required under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975, any approved activities on the island are managed to reduce the potential for adverse effects on the heritage values of the lightstation. Potential activities on Dent Island are detailed in the lease agreements. AMSA intends to continue to use the lighthouse as a marine aid to navigation for the foreseeable future. The private lessee intends to continue to use the residential buildings for caretaker accommodation only. Any proposals for development or adaptive re-use of the lightstation must be approved in writing by the GBRMPA.
Implementation strategy

  • Consult with the Heritage Division of SEWPaC at an early stage when considering proposals involving intervention in fabric or significant change.

  • Use the self assessment tool as contained in Working Together: Managing Commonwealth Heritage Places (DEWHA 2008) to measure the likely extent of impact of a proposal.

  • Consider the significance of any major proposal in the context of the referral provisions in the EPBC Act.

  • Use the Matters of national environmental significance, Significant Impact Guidelines 1.1, EPBC Act 1999 (DEWHA 2009) to assist in identifying the significance of impacts.

  • Prepare a heritage impact statement using expert advice identifying alternatives considered and the level of impacts on the heritage values, in line with the GBRMPA’s Environmental Impact Management processes.

  • Continue the maintenance and use of the lighthouse as a marine aid to navigation.

  • Continue to allow lessee to use the residential buildings for staff accommodation.

8.2.2. Issue 4: Community consultation

Policy 4: Undertake community, Traditional Owner and stakeholder consultation in the preparation, management and review of the management plan and where actions are likely to impact on the heritage values of the place

The development of a heritage management plan involves stakeholder and public consultation. Once a heritage management plan has been approved and implemented, consultation becomes part of the monitoring process. During reviews of the heritage management plan, further consultation will occur. The GBRMPA has a range of established methods of community and stakeholder consultation, which

it continues to use to satisfy this process.

Advisory committees

The GBRMPA aims to provide Australians with effective and meaningful consultation on heritage matters related to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Part of this important process is achieved through regular meetings with the relevant Reef Advisory Committee (RAC) representing expertise-based stakeholders and the relevant Local Marine Advisory Committees representing the local communities. Communication with stakeholders also takes place as ongoing interaction between both lessees and the GBRMPA, and through a broader community engagement process.

Traditional Owners

The GBRMPA values the importance of involving Traditional Owners in the management processes of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This value is reflected in the Great Barrier Reef Heritage Strategy and the GBRMPA Corporate Plan 2011–2014. These documents identify that the traditional affiliations, culture, heritage values and rights in relation to Traditional Owners must be taken into

account in the management of the Marine Park.

The locality and the surrounding area are culturally significant to the Gnaro people who in turn are part of the Birri-Gubba nation. While there is no current native title claim over Dent Island nor the surrounding lands and seas of the Whitsunday region, the Gnaro people are widely acknowledged as the Traditional Owners of the Whitsunday region.

The GBRMPA will maintain consultation with Traditional Owners through existing arrangements to ensure their continued involvement in the heritage management plan. Traditional Owner consultation for the Whitsunday Islands area is achieved in many ways, for example, through one-on-one consultation with Elders, contact with Field Management staff from the GBRMPA and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, involvement on the Local Marine Advisory Committee and contact through the North Queensland Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (NQLCAC).

The GBRMPA’s Indigenous Partnerships Group regularly meets with Traditional Owners and their representative bodies. The GBRMPA notifies of possible actions in relation to permit applications (to the GBRMPA or the National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing (NPRSR)) in accordance with the Native Title Act 1993.


The GBRMPA recognises that maintaining strategies for liaison with all Commonwealth and State agencies with a relevant interest in heritage matters in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is crucial to the effective management of heritage values. Consequently, an ongoing action for the GBRMPA is to maintain this contact through formal and informal mechanisms.
Ongoing consultation with SEWPaC and AMSA occurs for the purposes of heritage management, environmental management and ongoing maintenance of aids to navigation. Consultation at the early stages of project development or initiation of works proposals has the advantage of avoiding unnecessary delays and costly plan revisions. Consultation with heritage experts can also minimise or mitigate significant impacts on heritage values.

The GBRMPA will maintain consultation with lessees utilising the Dent Island. Where significant impacts are a possibility, consideration will be given by the GBRMPA as to whether a referral under the EPBC Act is required. This includes the consideration of impacts to the environment that can occur away from the affected place. In the case of Dent Island Lightstation for example, other works and development to the golf course could have impacts on the aesthetic values of the place.

Consultation by AMSA

AMSA conducts consultation with the maritime industry through the Navigational Services Advisory Group (NSAG). NSAG is the peak consultative body to AMSA for matters relating to AMSA’s responsibilities for the safety of navigation in Australian waters.
The role of the committee is to provide expert maritime industry advice on requirements for aids to navigation and other nautical and navigational safety matters. The committee is co-chaired by AMSA’s Manager Nautical and Regulation Safety and Manager Aids to Navigation. Its members include representatives of ship owners, operators and pilots; the Royal Australian Navy Australian Hydrographic Service; and officers of AMSA.
Implementation strategy

  • Undertake community consultation when reviewing the heritage management plan in accordance with EPBC Regulations (regulation 10.03C).

  • Continue to liaise as necessary with the Reef Advisory Committee, the relevant Local Marine Advisory Committees and local Indigenous communities in the management of the heritage values of the lightstation.

  • Seek advice from local Indigenous communities when dealing with sensitive information and refer to the document Ask first: a guide to respecting Indigenous heritage places and values (AHC 2002) to guide consultations.

  • Apply standard Commonwealth privacy and security requirements, for the management of sensitive information.

  • Consult respective stakeholders in matters where sensitive commercial-in-confidence information is involved in the management of the place.

8.2.3. Issue 5: Review

Policy 5: Review the plan within five years of its adoption by the Minister as a plan consistent with Commonwealth Heritage management principles


A management plan is affected by changes over time when administrative arrangements change, where leases require amendment and with technological advances. This heritage management plan needs to be kept under review to take into account any change that might alter the basis for its application. Legislative requirements oblige Commonwealth agencies to review a management plan for a Commonwealth Heritage place once within every five-year period. This review will be undertaken in accordance with the EPBC Act and Regulations.

The GBRMPA has a list of information needs for management available for searching at its website (see: http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/). Several questions pertain to management of islands and cays, some of which are applicable to Dent Island. The GBRMPA reviews this list regularly and information needs in relation to Commonwealth Heritage matters will be added as required.
Implementation strategy

    • Review this heritage management plan as required, or no later than five years after its adoption.

8.2.4. Issue 6: Reporting and monitoring

Policy 6: Report and monitor on an annual basis using the GBRMPA and AMSA existing administrative arrangements any change or impact on the heritage values of the place


The success of conservation will be monitored through regular reporting, inspections and the use of the agencies’ databases.

In accordance with the EPBC Act 1999 (s. 341ZB), the GBRMPA and AMSA will each maintain a register containing information on all Commonwealth Heritage places they manage including the Dent Island Lightstation. Information that will be included in these registers are:

  • A description of the Commonwealth Heritage values.

  • The current condition of the Commonwealth Heritage values as reported by the tenants and from inspections by the GBRMPA representatives.

  • A record of all work carried out on the lightstation — this will include photographs, written documentation and drawings/plans.

  • A record of all proposals for development or adaptive re-use of the lightstation.

  • A record of all actual developments or adaptive re-use of the lightstation.

  • A record of all past and present heritage management plans for the lightstation.

All the above information will be entered into the registers as soon as practicable after receipt.

The private lessee is required to report to the GBRMPA on the state of the Commonwealth Heritage values on an annual basis. Visual inspections of the heritage values will be conducted annually by relevant GBRMPA/QPWS representatives.
Implementation strategy

  • Use of databases in the management of the lightstation.

8.2.5. Issue 7: Recording decisions

Policy 7: The GBRMPA and AMSA will ensure that adequate records of the processes for making decisions about the conservation of the lightstation are created and kept

As part of the proper process for managing change in significant places, the Burra Charter points out the importance of making records before any change, and advocates placing the records in a permanent archive, and making them available where this is appropriate (Australia ICOMOS 1999, article 27.2 [Managing change] and article 32 [Records]).

Implementation strategy

  1. The GBRMPA and AMSA to maintain records through existing administrative arrangements.

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