Ownership of protected areas 

Ownership map

Ownership of protected areas

Ownership map (PDF - 1.36 MB)

Nearly 70 per cent of the protected area estate on mainland Australia is publicly owned and managed by the Australian government or state and territory governments. These are included in over 10,000 protected areas covering more than 137 million hectares or over 17 per cent of Australia.

Indigenous community owned and managed lands are protected as Indigenous Protected Areas in Australia. They form the second largest component of the National Reserve System covering 7.16 per cent of Australia.

There are 1223 protected areas on private land covering one per cent of Australia; they perform an important role in protecting biodiversity value on private land in the agricultural and pastoral regions of Australia.

Governance of protected areas (source: CAPAD 2014)
Governance Number of
protected areas
Total area (ha) Proportion of total
protected area
Percent of Australia Average size (ha)
Indigenous

67

55,028,856

40.02%

7.16%

821,326

Government

7,295

65,685,098

47.77%

8.54%

9,004

Joint

1,754

9,546,681

6.94%

1.24%

5,443

Private

1,223

7,240,916

5.27%

0.94%

5,921

Total

10,339

137,501,551

100%

17.88%

13,299

State and territory levels of protection (source: CAPAD 2014)
Region Area (ha) NRS (ha) % of Jurisdiction
Protected
Contribution to
NRS (%)
Number of areas Average size (ha)
ACT 235,813 130,214 55.22% 0.09% 46 2,831
NSW 80,121,268 7,293,630 9.10% 5.30% 925 7,885
NT 134,778,762 25,129,386 18.64% 18.27% 81 310,239
QLD 172,973,671 14,108,222 8.16% 10.26% 1,086 12,991
SA 98,422,137 29,394,607 29.87% 21.38% 1,995 14,734
TAS 6,840,133 3,015,707 44.09% 2.19% 1,524 1,979
VIC 22,754,364 4,012,124 17.63% 2.92% 3,056 1,313
WA 252,700,808 54,375,439 21.52% 39.54% 1,607 33,837
External   42,223 0.00 0.03% 19 2,222
Australia 768,826,956 137,501,551 17.88% 100.00% 10,339 13,299