Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the NSW government was making ‘‘incredible progress’’ in preparing a case for the Royal National Park to receive World Heritage listing.
Mr Hunt and NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes rejected claims by The Greens that the state and federal governments had lost interest in the nomination.
Mr Hunt visited Audley before the 2013 Miranda by-election to announce the federal government would support the state’s nomination efforts.
He returned on Wednesday — 10 days before the general election — with Mr Stokes and Liberal candidates Lee Evans (Heathcote), Eleni Petinos (Miranda) and Mark Speakman (Cronulla).
Mr Hunt said, by world standards, progress on the nomination was ‘‘well ahead of schedule’’.
‘‘Normally, it will take two to three years to prepare a submission,’’ he said.
‘‘NSW will have done it inside 1 1/2 years.
‘‘That’s one of the fastest anywhere in the world.
‘‘I have just seen a lit of nominations and this stacks up among the best of the best.’’
Mr Hunt said formal consideration by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) could occur in mid-2017 and evaluation would take a further 1 to 2 years. “The threshold of meeting World Heritage value is very high,’’ he said.
Dr Stokes said: ‘‘We get one shot at this. We have to make sure the work is conclusive and thorough’’.
‘‘That’s why we are seeking an external peer review of the work done to date to make sure that any remaining questions are thoroughly answered so we put the very best case forward.’’
The Greens upper house member and environment spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi said earlier this year an important deadline was missed when the Royal was not added to a tentative list of sites by January 31.
Under World Heritage List rules, sites had to be on a tentative list drawn up by the federal government for a year before formal nominations were made by January 31 each year.
First National Park campaign leader Geoff Mosley was also disappointed the deadline was missed.
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