Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Yanyuwa Indigenous Protected Area

Indigenous Protected Areas news


Securing the future of Indigenous Protected Areas

9 August 2013

The Australian Government will invest over $78 million in Indigenous Protected Areas (2013-2018).

Over the next five years 50 organisations and 74 projects will be funded to develop and implement land management plans as part of Australia’s National Reserve System.

Read more about Indigenous Protected Areas


Jimmy Edgar wins National NAIDOC Caring for Country Award

Jimmy Edgar wins National NAIDOC Caring for Country Award

22 July 2013
Congratulations to Jimmy Edgar, winner of the 2013 National NAIDOC Caring for Country Award. Jimmy is a Yawuru and Karajarri man from Western Australia who has shown his passion for country and culture over many years . Jimmy is a respected cultural advisor and teacher within the Yawuru community, and sits on the Yawuru Indigenous Protected Area advisory committee.

Photo: (L-R) SEWPaC Deputy Secretary, Kimberley Dripps; award recipient, Jimmy Edgar; Member of the Indigenous Advisory Committee, Daniel Oades. Courtesy National NAIDOC Committee.

Read more about all the NAIDOC Award winners 


A north coast refuge in New South Wales

Ngunya Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area

10 May 2013
Stretching over 1,114 hectares of the Lower Richmond Valley on the northern coast of New South Wales, Ngunya Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area is a refuge for an extraordinary number of plants and animals. The Indigenous Protected Area is part of the traditional homelands of the Bundjalung people of Ballina and Cabbage Tree Island and creates a wildlife corridor between the region’s protected areas.

Read more about Ngunya Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area


Working together to protect the Daintree

Eastern Kuku Yalanji IPA

8 May 2013
Today traditional owners declared more than 70,000 hectares of Queensland’s Wet Tropics rainforest as the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Indigenous Protected Area. The wet rainforests of the Indigenous Protected Area contain more than half the world’s primitive flowering plant families. A rare species of cling-goby fish lives along its waterways and the mangrove forests are listed as nationally-important wetlands. Other threatened species include the cassowary and the tree-climbing kangaroo.

Read more about Eastern Kuku Yalanji Indigenous Protected Area | See the media release


Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area

Birriliburu IPA

23 April 2013
More than six million hectares of Western Australia's striking desert country straddling the famous Canning Stock Route will be protected from today with the dedication of the Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area. The dedication means that Australia has a continuous wildlife corridor of more than 24 million hectares stretching across the centre of our country, taking in seven Indigenous Protected Areas and two nature reserves, stretching from South Australia's APY Lands through the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and on through the Western Deserts.

Read more about Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area | See the media release


Caring for our Country Target Area Grants

11 February 2013
The Australian Government is seeking applications for Caring for our Country Target Area Grants from individuals or organisations working within the following areas - the Central Australian Connection, Cape York, the Kimberley, Tasmania, South-west Western Australia, urban waterways and coastal environments. For more information on these grants go to

Indigenous Protected Areas will also be able to apply for continued funding for existing declared, consultation and co-management projects nationally under the Caring for our Country Sustainable Environment stream. Details of this funding will be announced separately. Keep an eye on this website for any updates.


Lake Condah IPA

Lake Condah Indigenous Protected Area

12 July 2012
More than 1,700 hectares of significant wetlands and stony rises next to the historic lava flows of Mount Eccles National Park will be protected thanks to the Lake Condah Indigenous Protected Area. Gunditjmara traditional owners today gathered at the lake, near Heywood in Victoria, to celebrate this milestone. The community is improving Lake Condah's health by taking on wildlife prevention measures, conducting plant and animal surveys and reviving the use of traditional ecological knowledge.

Read more about Lake Condah


Yinapaka (Lake Surprise), Southern Tanami IPA | Courtesy of Central Land Council

Southern Tanami Indigenous Protected Area

10 July 2012
A huge new reserve has been declared in Central Australia, becoming Australia's largest ever land conservation zone and creating a major link in the Trans-Australia Eco-link corridor. More than 10 million hectares, from red deserts to subtropical savannahs, will be protected as the Southern Tanami Indigenous Protected Area. The Warlpiri Rangers and traditional owners look after this vast area, controlling weeds and feral animals and surveying native wildlife.

Read more about the Southern Tanami Indigenous Protected Area | Watch the video | Read the media release


Robert Warren | Uunguu Rangers training in control burning, 2009 - winner of the 2010 Working on Country Judge's Award

Working on Country Photography Competition 2012

4 July 2012

Exhibition dates: 3 July - 15 July 2012

Photographs that explore the relationships between Indigenous people and places in the Working on Country communities and Indigenous Protected Areas.

To be opened by Dr Paul Grimes, Secretary of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
DATE: Thursday 5 July 2012
TIME: 10:30am
VENUE: Visitor's Centre, Australian National Botanic Gardens
Clunies Ross Street, Canberra

Online voting in the People's Choice Award


Recognising our rangers

Photo: Steve Strike

Photo: Steve Strike

13 March 2012
Do you know a ranger who has made an outstanding contribution in the Northern Territory? Now is your chance to nominate them for the inaugural NT Ranger Awards!

Rangers do an amazing job across all of our parks and Indigenous Protected Areas. They have a wide range of responsibilities - from fire, weed and feral animal management to managing visitor facilities, services and safety and providing environmental and cultural education programs.

The Northern Territory Government has established the NT Ranger Awards to recognise the many achievements of the Territory's 600 plus rangers.

For more information or to nominate a ranger or ranger team visit:


Mandingalbay Yidinji Indigenous Protected Area

Working together to conserve the Cairns coastline

26 November 2011
Nearly 10,000 hectares of world renowned Wet Tropics received a conservation boost today with dedication of the Mandingalbay Yidinji Indigenous Protected Area.

Mandingalbay Yidinji country lies just east of Cairns across the Trinity Inlet. Straddling the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas, the region includes a great diversity of environments - mangroves, freshwater wetlands, rainforest clad mountains, coastal beaches, reefs and islands.

It is the first time in Australia's history an Indigenous Protected Area has been declared over existing World Heritage areas and national parks. Today's dedication is testament to the hard work of the traditional owners, who have taken a partnership approach to reach their goal of ‘putting country back together'.

Read more about Mandingalbay Yidinji Indigenous Protected Area


Gumma Indigenous Protected Area

Gumma - a coastal haven on the NSW north coast

25 November 2011
Traditional owners today gathered at Nambucca Heads to celebrate the declaration of the 111 hectare Gumma Indigenous Protected Area.

Just south of Nambucca Heads on the north coast of New South Wales, next to the Gaagal Wanggaan (South Beach) National Park, Gumma is a culturally significant landscape and a refuge for biodiversity.

Read the media release | Read more about Gumma Indigenous Protected Area


Oyster-Risdon IPA

Audit finds Indigenous Protected Areas an effective model of conservation

23 November 2011
Australian National Audit Office's audit of Indigenous Protected Areas was tabled in the Australian Parliament today.

For nearly 15 years the Indigenous Protected Areas program has worked successfully alongside Indigenous communities protecting some of Australia's most fragile environments. The report released today shows that Indigenous Protected Areas are a successful, co-operative way of conserving Australia's environment.

The audit praised the Indigenous Protected Areas model of consultation and engagement with communities saying it is key to the program's success. The audit was also positive about the program's current good administration, governance and risk management, noting these remained integral to its future success.

See the Australian National Audit Office's report | Read Department's response



Protecting ancient rainforests - Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area

19 August 2011
At Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area, ancient rainforests and floodplain wetlands act as a gateway to some of the largest coastal forests of far northern New South Wales. Minyumai covers over 2,100 hectares of paperbark groves and scribbly gum, swamp mahogany and bloodwood forests - as well as rare patches of lush rainforest.

The protected area helps form a crucial wildlife corridor of more than 20,000 hectares as it links Tabbimobile Swamp Nature Reserve with Budjalung National Park. It is home to many animals and birds including the wallum froglet, yellow bellied glider, powerful owl and little bentwing bat. Minyumai also forms a part of the wider traditional lands of the Bandjalang clan - who have always used the property to pass between their inland country and coastal camp sites.

Find out more about Minyumai


Sandy Bore

Nguraritja declare Antara-Sandy Bore an Indigenous Protected Area

11 August 2011
Covering more than 846,000 hectares of South Australia's arid Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, the Antara-Sandy Bore Indigenous Protected Area is dominated by the Everard Ranges to the north and sandplain country to the south. The area's traditional owners known as Nguraritja declared the Indigenous Protected Area in June 2011.

Nguraritja are keen to explore economic opportunities that are consistent with sustainable land management, such as small-scale tourism ventures and the harvesting of feral animals.

Antara-Sandy Bore is home to a number of significant and threatened species including itjaritjari, a marsupial mole. Senior Nguraritja speak of a time when warru, black flanked rock wallabies were abundant in the Everard Ranges. They are no longer found in the area but Nguraritja believe that, with land management including the control of feral predators, warru can be successfully reintroduced to the Indigenous Protected Area.

Apara-Makiri-Punti and Antara-Sandy Bore were jointly funded with $145,000 in 2010-11 under the Indigenous Protected Areas program. They also received an additional $43,266 for urgent patch burning work required after recent seasons of high rainfall led to a large build-up of grass fuels.

Find out more about Antara-Sandy Bore


Conservation milestone in the Kimberley

Uunguu Indigenous Protected Area

23 May 2011
Today is a historic day for the Wunambal Gaambera people of the northern Kimberley.

The Federal Court of Australia has granted them Native Title rights over 25,909 square kilometres of the Kimberley coastline - one of the most spectacular and remote coastlines in the world.

Right after the Native Title determination the traditional owners made a commitment to conservation by declaring 343,515 hectares of their country as the Uunguu Indigenous Protected Area. Uunguu means living home - it is everything in Wunambal Gaambera country - the plants and animals, the people, the natural and cultural places.

There are many diverse habitats here - from rainforest-filled gorges to freshwater holes, culturally-significant coastal islands and saltwater country. Uunguu is home to many threatened plants and animals - dugong, marine turtles, dolphins and the smallest rock wallaby in the world, called monjon, are all found here.

Uunguu also forms one of the biggest open air galleries in Western Australia - world-famous rock art is found here, speaking of the Wanjina spirits and Wunggurr spirits who made the language and the law for each family to look after a traditional part of country.

Uunguu Indigenous Protected Area is now part of Australia's National Reserve System - our nation's most secure way of protecting our cultural heritage and native habitat for future generations.

Indigenous Protected Areas are one of Australia's most successful conservation stories - they protect Australia's biodiversity while providing training and employment for Aboriginal people doing work that they love on their own country.

Find out more about Uunguu | Media release | Find out more about the National Reserve System


Bush blitz explores an ancient volcanic landscape for new species

23 March 2011
A team of more than 40 scientists, Indigenous rangers and volunteers today begin the most comprehensive plant and animal survey yet on Aboriginal-owned lands in the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape in south-western Victoria.
The expedition is part of Bush Blitz - a three-year continental scale project to document plants and animals protected in Australia's National Reserve System.

IPA managers at Booderee

See the media release for more information (PDF file on the Bush blitz website)


Caring for country - Indigenous Protected Areas land managers meet at Booderee

22 March 2011
More than 200 Indigenous land managers and rangers from across Australia are gathering at Booderee this week to explore how Indigenous Protected Areas protect our environment and help Close the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

See the media release for more information


Brolga billabong protected for future generations


24 November 2010
The health of the Murray-Darling Basin river system received a further boost today with the declaration of the 261 hectare Brewarrina Ngemba Billabong Indigenous Protected Area.

Traditional owner Feli Mchughes said the Ngemba people's decision to declare the fragile billabong, connected to the Barwon River in northern New South Wales near the Queensland border, meant a host of animals and plants could look forward to a healthier future.

Read more about Brewarrina Ngemba Billabong Indigenous Protected Area


Kalka-Pipalyatjara Indigenous Protected Area


13 April 2010
A huge new protected area in South Australia's remote north will help protect one of the state's most endangered species - the warru or black-footed rock wallaby.

Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett congratulated traditional owners and Indigenous rangers from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands on today's declaration of the Kalka-Pipalyatjara Indigenous Protected Area.

"This spectacular landscape stretches from the Tomkinson and Mann ranges dominating the north-west to sand dune country in the south," Mr Garrett said. "Today's declaration means 580,000 hectares of this country will be managed by its traditional owners for conservation. This is a significant addition to the National Reserve System."

Read more about Kalka-Pipalyatjara Indigenous Protected Area | See the media release



A Koala protected by the Boorabee and the Willows Indigenous Protected Area

Koalas will now be protected in the Boorabee and the Willows Indigenous Protected Area

Two new Indigenous Protected Areas

5 March 2010
Nearly 4,000 hectares of New England's fragile ecosystems will now be conserved thanks to two Indigenous communities.


Apply for 2010-11 Indigenous Protected Areas funding

January 2010
Applications for Indigenous Protected Areas funding for 2010-11 are now open with the release of the Caring for Our Country business plan.

Applications for 2010-11 funding are now closed.

Young Warrk Warrk dancers celebrate the Djelk

Young dancers celebrate the Djelk declaration


Djelk/Warrdekken Indigenous Protected Areas

September 2009
Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the declaration of the Djelk and Warddeken Indigenous Protected Areas with some amazing dancing and ceremony.The declarations mean more than two million hectares of spectacular Top End country has been added to the National Reserve System.

The declarations received an enormous amount of positive coverage from across the country and the world.


Far reaching protection for Australia's top end environment

24 September 2009
Australia's Top End will have a huge conservation corridor stretching from Kakadu's stone country to the Arafura Sea, with the declaration of two substantial new Indigenous Protected Areas.
More information


Indigenous ranger jobs help conserve the Cape

24 August 2009
Environment Minister Peter Garrett on Sunday visited Napranum, a remote community on Cape York, to see the benefits of on-ground conservation jobs, and announce a further $46 million worth of funding to employ Indigenous rangers to work on country.
More information


New national approach to preserve Indigenous languages

9 August 2009
Indigenous languages will live on for future generations of Australians under a new approach being taken by the Australian Government.
The new National Indigenous Languages Policy is aimed at keeping Indigenous languages alive and supporting Indigenous Australians to connect with their language, culture and country.
More information