Alexandrina Council has voted to join the Barossa, Adelaide Hills, Mount Barker and Onkaparinga Councils in their bid to pursue World Heritage listing of the agricultural areas of the Mount Lofty Ranges. The council’s participation will be formalised over the next couple of months.
The bid spans the world-renowned food, wine and tourism regions of the Barossa Valley, the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and the Fleurieu. The five councils will first of all collaborate to pursue National Heritage listing of the agricultural landscapes, before lobbying the Australian government to pursue World Heritage listing.
UNESCO’s World Heritage list seeks to identify, protect and promote cultural and natural heritage of outstanding value to humanity. The bid consortium is pursuing listing for values associated with South Australia’s ground-breaking model of colonisation developed by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham and other influential 19th century thinkers. The Mount Lofty Ranges’ links to this unique philosophical movement, and the continuing reflection of utopian ideals in the contemporary landscape form the basis of the bid. UNESCO listing does not turn the area into a museum but protects and promotes it as a working, evolving landscape under local planning control.
Project steering group chair and Adelaide Hills Council Mayor Bill Spragg believes the participation of Alexandrina Council will add strength to the bid, and help leverage economic benefits for farmers, producers and tourism operators across the entire region:
“World Heritage listing represents the single biggest global branding opportunity we will ever have”, he says. “It is a pro-growth strategy that enables farmers, food and beverage processors and tourist businesses to market the region and brand its produce as coming from a World Heritage area.”
According to Mayor Spragg, the value of pursuing UNESCO listing is unlocked not only by the designation itself, but by the motivation and coordinated action of local stakeholders to make the bid work:
“The bid process will catalyse and unify discussion of issues vital to the future of the region, such as sustainable farming and maintaining and enhancing our clean and green environment, as well as cultivating a sense of place, identity and community.”
The consortium is currently inviting Expressions of Interest from members of the public to serve on expert advisory groups over the next few years. For more information, or interviews with members of the bid consortium please contact Project Manager Stephanie Johnston on 0400 738 844 and [email protected], or go to www.mountloftyranges.org.