The federal government says it is not ruling out world heritage listing for the Cape York Peninsula, even though it will not be nominated next month, saying that's just an imaginary deadline.
Brooke Boney

24 Jan 2014 - 4:32 PM  UPDATED 24 Jan 2014 - 6:20 PM

Environment Minister Greg Hunt says he wants full consultation with traditional owners and other interested parties before proceeding with the nomination.

"We have always been working towards a listing based on the best of the best once there is broad community agreement," he said, referring to the fact specific areas are being considered rather than a blanket listing.

"Consultation is ongoing but the last thing I would want to see is something imposed on indigenous communities without their consent."

Australia is currently home to 17 world-heritage listed sites by the United Nations, and many hope the Cape York Peninsula will soon be added to the list.

But the federal government isn’t nominating the area before February 1, meaning it might not be formally listed until 2016.

In order for a site to be nominated, it has to have outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity.

Some areas on the Cape York Peninsula meet that criteria, but gaining the listing could make it more difficult for commercial ventures such as mining to take place.