Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Departmental response to the Australian National Audit Office's report

Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities - November 2011
© Commonwealth of Australia

Report

Departmental response

The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities welcomes the Australian National Audit Office audit into the Indigenous Protected Area program, and particularly notes the report's findings that indicate the program has been successful in bringing Indigenous land into the National Reserve System through its effective model of consultative engagements with Indigenous landowners.

The department notes that the report highlights the need for Indigenous Protected Areas to have access to ongoing funding to support their management as protected areas, and emphasises the importance of the department working with Indigenous Protected Area project communities and providing advice to government on the development of strategies that support the maintenance of Indigenous Protected Areas.

In this context, the department supports the report's recommendation that the department develop options for future funding including options that would reduce over time the dependence of Indigenous Protected Areas on Australian Government funding. The department is continuing to work with private sector partners and across governments to develop approaches and maximise opportunities to broaden the base of support for ongoing sustainable management of Indigenous Protected Areas.

The department notes the audit findings in relations to the potential linkages between the Indigenous Protected Area program and contributions to the broader Australian Government initiative to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage, and is continuing to reinforce the contribution made by IPA program outcomes to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.