A major systemic threat to Australia’s heritage is its relative priority in planning, land use and development decision-making. Heritage is often determined to be expendable in the name of a greater community or economic good. The perceived value of heritage directly influences the priority it is afforded and the resources allocated for heritage conservation.
The resilience of Australia’s natural heritage (as opposed to the resilience of the natural environment) is particularly a function of the underlying spectrum of geodiversity and biodiversity represented in heritage lists and reserved lands. In addition, the resources allocated to risk management activities, which range from fire reduction to control of invasive species, also contribute to natural area resilience.
Understanding and identifying the physical extent, and tangible and intangible values of Indigenous heritage is a critical component of its resilience. Involvement of associated communities on Country increases resilience capacity—for both the place itself and the Indigenous community—because safeguarding and transmission of traditional knowledge influence the value of places and the wellbeing of communities.
Historic places are highly susceptible to shocks, but can be better prepared by ensuring that they have an ongoing, relevant and viable use, and by managing them proactively, including collecting data, having good conservation standards, performing regular maintenance and planning for disasters.