Expanding Indigenous Protected Areas

The Hon Ken Wyatt MP

Minister for Indigenous Australians

Joint Media Release

27 October 2019

The Morrison Government is expanding its world leading network of Indigenous Protected Areas, where Traditional Owners and traditional land management practices protect natural environments and native species, while creating opportunity for Indigenous Australians.

Under the proposals, the Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) network would increase to over 100 million hectares, an area similar to the size of South Australia, increasing the scale of what is already the world’s largest IPA network by 28 per cent (currently 67 million hectares).

Funded through the second phase of the National Landcare Program, seven Indigenous groups will receive grants to support community consultation and planning activities, before making a final decision on whether to dedicate their land and/or sea country as an IPA.

For more than 20 years the IPA program has engaged Aboriginal and Torres Islander people in meaningful employment to achieve large-scale conservation outcomes, protecting native species such as the Northern Quoll, Long-nosed potoroo, Short-tailed shearwater (muttonbird), Gouldian Finch, Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby and Slender bell-fruit.

The establishment of seven new IPAs in the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia will provide further significant biodiversity benefits, protecting habitats for threatened species and managing threats from invasive weeds and feral species.

The newly‑announced IPA projects will protect habitat for threatened species including the Cassowary, Eastern Curlew and Malleefowl, as well as habitat for marine species such as turtles, dugongs and seabirds, and for migratory shorebirds. The proposed Haasts Bluff IPA will improve connections between a cluster of protected areas that conserve 40 million hectares of arid country in the NT, SA and WA, and protect threatened native species such as the Princess Parrot, Central Rock Rat, Black-footed Rock-wallaby, Greater Bilby and Great Desert Skink.

The IPAs will also deliver social and cultural benefits including employment for Indigenous Land and Sea Managers, knowledge transfer between generations, support for language and culture and Indigenous role models for youth.

More than 900 Aboriginal and Torres Islander people currently enjoy meaningful employment while achieving achieve large-scale conservation outcomes under the IPA program.

Since 1997, IPAs have provided significant social, cultural and economic benefits to local Indigenous communities while protecting our native environment for all Australians.

Minister for the Environment