By Brian Gilligan
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006
- The Indigenous Protected Areas program - 2006 Evaluation - Full report (PDF - 1,933 KB)
- The Indigenous Protected Areas program - 2006 Evaluation - Contents and Executive summary (PDF - 956 KB)
- The Indigenous Protected Areas program - 2006 Evaluation - Chapters 1 to 3 (PDF - 701 KB)
- The Indigenous Protected Areas program - 2006 Evaluation - Chapters 4 to 6 (PDF - 253 KB)
- The Indigenous Protected Areas program - 2006 Evaluation - Chapter 7 to Attachments (PDF - 131 KB)
About the publication
In 2006 the Minister for the Environment and Heritage initiated an evaluation of the Indigenous Protected Area Program. An extensive consultation process including visits to most states and territories was undertaken in the first half of 2006. This process also included a call for public submissions, summaries of which have been incorporated into the review document.
The evaluation considers the extent to which the Program has contributed to meeting Australian Government policy priorities to date and the capacity for enhancing these priorities. It also considers the effectiveness of the Programs delivery of conservation, economic, cultural and social benefits in the context of sustainable natural resource management at landscape, regional and national scales.
The evaluation by the former Director-General of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Mr. Brian Gilligan, has hailed the Australian Government's Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) Program as the nation's "most successful innovation in Indigenous conservation".
The IPA Program commenced as a pilot in 1995 with the dual aims of supporting Indigenous land management and achieving national conservation objectives. Today the IPA Program supports 22 declared IPA's covering a total of 14.9 million hectares in every state and territory of Australia (with the exception of the ACT).
This independent review recognizes the value of the Australian government's $14.8 million dollar investment in this program and has found that:
- It contributes significantly to the National Reserve System and has been extremely cost effective in contributing to national conservation goals;
- Provides meaningful work opportunities for Indigenous Australians; and
- Operates robust monitoring an evaluation systems.
The review also found that in addition to important biodiversity and conservation outcomes, communities involved in the IPA Program report significant additional benefits. In particular it confirms that IPAs create proven pathways to meaningful jobs looking after land and a framework for skills development.
- 95% of IPA communities report economic participation and development benefits from involvement with the Program;
- 60% of communities report positive outcomes for early childhood development from their IPA activities;
- 85% report that IPA activities improve early school engagement;
- 74% report that their IPA management activities make a positive contribution to the reduction of substance abuse; and
- 74% of IPA communities report that their participation in IPA work contributes to more functional families by restoring relationships and reinforcing family and community structures.