Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Indigenous Protected Area - video


An Indigenous Protected Area is an area of Indigenous-owned land or sea where traditional owners have entered into an agreement with the Australian Government to promote biodiversity and cultural resource conservation. Indigenous Protected Areas make a significant contribution to Australian biodiversity conservation - making almost 25 per cent of Australia's National Reserve System.


Indigenous Protected Areas - Overview from Parks Australia on Vimeo.


Australia's first Indigenous Protected Area, or IPA, was declared in 1997.

More than a decade on, there are dozens of IPAs covering more than 20 million hectares of habitat. They are protecting biodiversity for future generations.

Tony Wurramarrba, Anindilyakwa IPA:
We live out here. We live in the coast - we Aboriginal people know what's going on. It makes sense for us to be able to work for our people and for our country as well. Indigenous Protected Area for us it means a lot.

Gavin Enever, Anindilyakwa IPA:
An IPA is very similar to what most Australians would see a Kakadu style national park is, except this is purely looking at it from an Indigenous point of view, it's set up so that Indigenous people can have their own aspirations and they can apply their own different form of land management to it. Here really people are looking after land, language and culture, which isn't necessarily those three things that you'd look for in a normal national park. So we do different types of things.

IPA's are managed by their Indigenous owners, with support from the Australian Government.

They create ranger jobs and chances for tourism, and there are spin-off benefits for health, education and families too.

Wade Freeman, Paruku IPA:
It is a source of employment for young people. It's an opportunity for economic development for people, which is very important. It's a source of - it's a source of identity. It's a pride.

Tony Wurramarrba, Anindilyakwa IPA:
IPA is not just focusing on one thing. It focuses on everything. We've got to manage what we've got on land as well as out in the water. When our children are grown up at least they'll have something on the land or in the waters that they can share.