Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2005
ISSN 1441 9335
Outcome 1 - Environment (continued)
Parks and reserves
The Director of National Parks is a statutory office-holder who is responsible for managing parks and reserves established by the Australian Government to conserve biodiversity and provide nature- and culture-based tourism opportunities. The Department of the Environment and Heritage supports the Director of National Parks, and supports the establishment of protected areas nationally.
Main responsibilities relevant to this output
Parks Australia Division
- To establish and manage Commonwealth protected areas under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- To assist with the establishment and maintenance of a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of protected area reserves in Australia
- To establish and manage protected areas on Indigenous-owned estates and establish joint management arrangements for government-owned protected areas between Indigenous groups and the relevant government nature conservation agencies
- The Director of National Parks continued to improve the management of Commonwealth protected areas, including support for a landmark tourism vision for Kakadu National Park and adoption of a performance assessment framework
- Government funding helped to add 212 895 hectares to the National Reserve System, which now protects 80.9 million hectares
- A strategic national approach for the establishment and management of the National Reserve System was endorsed by Australian governments
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 the Director of National Parks is responsible for Australian Government protected areas called ‘Commonwealth reserves’ and ‘conservation zones’. These protected areas include remote national parks, marine parks and botanical gardens. Kakadu, Uluru–Kata Tjuta and Booderee national parks are jointly managed with their Indigenous traditional owners.
The department receives an appropriation for managing these areas and uses it to purchase management services from the Director of National Parks under a purchaser-provider arrangement. During the year the department provided $40.1 million to the director under the arrangement. As a result:
- management of all Commonwealth reserves was carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- a shared tourism vision for Kakadu National Park was successfully developed
- a performance assessment framework, including agency-level indicators to inform future reporting, was adopted
- the director led the Australian delegation to the 3rd IUCN (World Conservation Union) World Conservation Congress in Bangkok, Thailand from 17–25 November 2004, which, inter alia, confirmed the IUCN protected area management categories and supported review of the guidelines for these categories.
Detailed information about these outcomes appears in the annual report of the Director of National Parks (see www.deh.gov.au/parks/publications).
- Future direction of the National Reserve System
- Updated information products
- National Reserve System Programme
- Indigenous Protected Areas Programme
The National Reserve System is Australia ’s system of terrestrial protected areas. It represents the collective efforts of federal, state and territory governments, non-government organisations and Indigenous landholders. The department is responsible for:
- making sure that the National Reserve System is developed in a consistent way in each jurisdiction
- managing the Natural Heritage Trust’s National Reserve System Programme, which includes the Indigenous Protected Areas Programme, and which supports the systematic identification of new reserves for the National Reserve System.
Project work for these activities is funded through the national component of the Natural Heritage Trust. During 2004–05 $4.4 million was spent from the Natural Heritage Trust for land acquisitions and $2.5 million under the Indigenous Protected Areas Programme.
The National Reserve System now protects 80.9 million hectares (see map).
In 2005 the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council approved a statement on the future direction of the National Reserve System. The statement formalises national directions for the next 15 years for making quantifiable progress towards establishing and managing a comprehensive, adequate and representative terrestrial reserve system in Australia. It covers the design, establishment and management of a national reserve system and emphasises the critical role of partnerships, especially with Indigenous communities. A task force of officials from each jurisdiction will oversee implementation of the statement. See www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/directions.
The Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia is a scientifically based analysis of Australia’s bioregions that provides a nationally agreed framework for conservation planning, including the National Reserve System (bioregions are geographic areas defined by a combination of physical and biological characteristics—for example, terrain, climate and ecological communities—and are a useful way to analyse patterns of biodiversity). During 2004–05 Parks Australia updated the regionalisation to include sub-regions. See www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/ibra.
The Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database contains information on all protected areas in Australia. During 2004–05 the department finalised the 2004 version of the database for release later in 2005. See www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/capad.
Bush Heritage Judith Eardley Reserve
This 344 hectare reserve in north-central Victoria protects threatened grassy woodland, the habitat of many declining woodland birds. It was purchased in 2004 with help from the Australian Government through the Natural Heritage Trust’s National Reserve System Programme.
Photo: D Tatnell, courtesy Australian Bush Heritage Fund
The Natural Heritage Trust’s National Reserve System Programme supports the purchasing and covenanting of properties to add to the National Reserve System (chart below).
Projects funded for addition to the National Reserve System (1996–present)
Total area supported by projects to date = 20.781 million hectares
2003–04 figures are estimates.
National Reserve System
During the year the National Reserve System Programme helped to buy and covenant 212 895 hectares of land for inclusion in the National Reserve System. The 22 properties approved in 2004–05 (map above) contain 122 vegetation communities, including five wetlands, the majority of which were poorly represented or not represented in the National Reserve System. The properties contain 31 threatened or near threatened communities, and numerous rare and threatened flora and fauna species.
Toogimbie Indigenous Protected Area
This 4 500 hectare protected area is in the Hay Plains region of New South Wales. As well as achieving significant environmental and cultural heritage outcomes, the Toogimbie Indigenous Protected Area is providing education and employment opportunities. It has twice been nominated for a National Landcare award, and the Nari Nari Tribal Council, which owns the land, has been nominated for an Indigenous Governance award.
Photo: I Haskovec
The Indigenous Protected Areas Programme helps Indigenous landowners establish Indigenous protected areas, which are non-statutory protected areas that form part of the National Reserve System. The programme also supports land management activities in declared Indigenous protected areas, which are established through contractual arrangements between Indigenous communities and the Australian Government.
During the year the Indigenous Protected Areas Programme funded three new projects to develop protected areas at the Kaanju Homelands (near Coen on Cape York Peninsula), Ngarrabullgan (Mount Mulligan in north Queensland), and at Anindilyakwa (Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria).
Indigenous Protected Areas
Declared Indigenous protected areas now make up 13.79 million hectares of the National Reserve System, which is 17 per cent of the total area protected in the National Reserve System.
See also: Indigenous heritage
|Performance indicator||2004–05 results|
|National Reserve System Programme|
|Number of projects or activities approved under each programme||22 projects|
|Number of agreements, plans and management arrangements put in place||34 management plans|
|Indigenous Protected Areas Programme
(subset of the above results for the National Reserve System Programme)
|Number of projects or activities approved under each programme||3 projects|
|Number of agreements, plans and management arrangements put in place||3 management plans|
|Extent to which (self-imposed, ministerial or external) timeframes are met||High – timeframes met in accordance with departmental standards|
|Accurate and timely approval, payment and acquittal of grants in accordance with legislation and guidelines||100% of payments made in accordance with terms and conditions of financial agreements|
|Information and education products distributed to stakeholders (measured by web site hits, information material distributed, etc)||29 public submissions received on National Reserve System future directions statement
Papers on the directions statement and international protected area agenda presented at a Partnership for Conservation Roundtable in May 2005
Indigenous protected areas newsletters distributed
High level of community interest indicated by frequent enquiries in response to the web site
Average of 32 049 user sessions per month on the parks-related part of the department’s web site
Annual reports of the Director of National Parks at www.deh.gov.au/parks/publications.
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
|Element of pricing||Budget prices¹
|Sub-output: Protected areas²
Sub-output: National Reserve System
|Total (=Output 1.9: Parks and Reserves)||43 212||43 847|
|Acquisition of leases and legal costs||9 850||9 850|
¹ Prices are the estimated full-year revenues for departmental outputs and full-year expenses for administered items that are shown in the 2004–05 portfolio additional estimates statements.
² Prices and expenses include a corporate services charge, provided as resources free of charge to the Director of National Parks calculated under a service level agreement on a full cost recovery basis.
See also: summary resource tables.