Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Supporting Traditional Owners to protect turtles and dugongs

Media release
22 May 2013

The Australian and Queensland governments are providing support for Traditional Owners to managing marine turtles, dugongs and sea-country in Queensland.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said this was the first round of grants under the Australian Government's package to support Queensland's Indigenous communities in managing their sea country.

"I have spent a lot of time with traditional owners and indigenous rangers in Cape York and they are doing some great work in protecting turtles and dugongs from a range of threats such as feral pigs,'' Mr Burke said.

"There is no doubt that our engagement with traditional owners is resulting in improved protection for turtles and dugong.

"Given the remote nature of the communities in this part of Australia there is no one in a better position to do this important conservation work than traditional owners themselves.

"The knowledge of Traditional Owners is crucial to our ongoing management of turtle and dugongs and sea-country in Queensland and these grants will help groups continue and expand their good work.

"We consulted with Traditional Owners through forums on how to support the sustainable management of Queensland's sea country.

"We've responded to feedback from Traditional Owners, developing a package that includes a range of measures to increase engagement and participation of Queensland's Indigenous communities in activities such as sustainable harvest of dugongs and turtles by Traditional Owners."

As a part of the funding package, Traditional Owners and their organisations applied for grants to undertake sea country management activities.

"Indigenous organisations are being funded for a range of projects including support for sea country planning activities, turtle rehabilitation facilities, sea grass monitoring and leadership development," Mr Burke said.

"The funding is part of our broader commitment, which includes support for Cape York Indigenous groups to develop a regional approach to sustainably managing marine turtle and dugong.

"It also provides financial support for an Indigenous Sea Country Strategic Policy Group, who are working with Traditional Owners across the State to support Indigenous management of sea country."

The initiative builds on existing Australian and Queensland Government investment under the Working on Country Indigenous ranger and Reef Rescue programs and is undertaken in conjunction with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Government.