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June 15, 2024

Vale Lincoln Siliakis, protector of world heritage

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Lincoln Siliakis, a man who dedicated decades of his life to the protection of World Heritage properties has died in Paris.

Lincoln Siliakis never sought publicity or acclaim for the role he played in protecting Australia’s places of outstanding universal value but today we should all pay tribute to this legend of World Heritage advocacy.

Lincoln was central to the peoples’ nomination of the Daintree as World Heritage in the early 1980s, and then became the anchor of the legal team to save the Franklin River.

After his move to Paris, I joined him there as we campaigned together at UNESCO against the Jabiluka Uranium Mine in the Kakadu World Heritage Area.

His mastery of the French language and his legal skills were invaluable as we met with ambassadors at UNESCO; pointing out just how determined the Howard government was to develop uranium at the expense of both Aboriginal traditional owners and the environment.

Following Australia’s near miss at having Kakadu listed as World Heritage in danger, the Australian government tried to have the operational guidelines of the World Heritage Convention changed, to allow any nation affected to block an ‘in danger’ listing.

Lincoln came to the fore in assisting me (when I was at that time the vice president of the IUCN, which informs World Heritage decisions) in thwarting the Australian government’s efforts.

Over the years he has also been a central player in trying to secure inclusion of Tasmania’s magnificent forests in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), and played a critical role in exposing the flaws in the 2008 UNESCO Mission Report and in securing the Doha decision in 2014, which prevented the Abbott government from excising 74,000 hectares from the TWWHA.

These wild places now exist in perpetuity thanks to work of people like Lincoln Siliakis.

I extend our love and sympathy to his widow Anne Froger.

Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne

 


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