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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

16 March 2001

DHIMURRU INDIGENOUS PROTECTED AREA DECLARED IN ARNHEM LAND


Around 100,000 hectares of ecologically and culturally significant land will be conserved with the declaration of the Northern Territory's first Indigenous Protected Area.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill congratulated the Traditional Owners on deciding to manage their lands for conservation under the Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) program.

"This is a far-sighted decision by the Aboriginal landowners to declare and manage their land as a protected area as part of the National Reserve System," Senator Hill said at a function to mark the declaration.

"The Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area is now listed on the national register of Protected Areas and will be managed in accordance with internationally agreed protected area standards and guidelines.

"Visitors to the region will be able to see and appreciate the natural beauty of the region while learning of the rich culture which has cared for the country and depended on its resources for many thousands of years.

"Dhimurru's willingness to combine traditional knowledge of country with Western scientific approaches is a very innovative and effective way of ensuring this special area remains healthy and productive for future generations."

The Indigenous Protected Area program is a Commonwealth initiative funded through the Natural Heritage Trust under which Indigenous landowners commit to manage their lands for the protection of their natural and cultural values as part of Australia's National Reserve System.

In return, landowners receive funding and technical support to manage their lands.

Dhimurru IPA covers approximately 100,000 hectares of Aboriginal land in northeast Arhnem Land and includes some sea country. Significant nesting and feeding habitat for sea bird and several threatened marine turtles are present in the IPA.

The major management issues are visitor pressures on recreation areas, rehabilitation from past uncontrolled vehicle access, and wildlife protection and research including monitoring the impact of marine debris on threatened turtle populations.

The Dhimurru declaration is the 13th IPA to be declared across Australia. This brings the total of Indigenous owned lands managed as IPAs to 3.1 million hectares.

The Minister has approved $110,000 of funding to Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation from the Natural Heritage Trust to assist with establishing and managing the IPA.

Senator Hill said that through the IPA program, Aboriginal people were protecting the biodiversity and cultural values of their lands, thereby providing an important environmental service to the broader community.

"The Dhimurru community's success working cooperatively with government and industry has inspired other Aboriginal communities across Australia to more actively engage with contemporary land and sea management," Senator Hill said.

For more information about the Indigenous Protected Area Program and images of Dhimurru IPA, visit the web site at: http://www.environment.gov.au/bg/indigenous-policy/fact-sheets

High resolution images of today's launch will be available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/env/2001/index.html

16 March 2001

Media contact: Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Backgrounder


Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area

Map of Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area

Map of Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area
Certificate marking the declaration of the Dhimurru IPA

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill with Dhimurru Chairman Bawurr Munyarryun (left) and Senior Ranger Nanikiya Munungurritj (centre) holding a certificate marking the declaration of the Dhimurru IPA at a ceremony on 16 March 2001 near Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory.

Robert Hill with Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation Rangers and staff

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill with Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation Rangers and staff including Chairman Bawurr Munyarryun (seated left) and Senior Ranger Nanikiya Munungurritj (standing beside the Minister) at a ceremony on 16 March 2001 to mark the declaration of Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area in the Northern Territory.

Robert Hill and Chair of the newly formed Indigenous Advisory Committee Gatjil Djerrkura

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill and Chair of the Indigenous Advisory Committee (established under the EPBC Act) Gatjil Djerrkura (former chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission) at a ceremony on 16 March 2001 to mark the declaration of Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area in the Northern Territory.

Robert Hill holds a spear presented to him by the Dhimurru community

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill holds a spear presented to him by the Dhimurru community and addresses the audience at a ceremony on 16 March 2001 to mark the declaration of Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area in the Northern Territory

Members of the Dhimurru community play didgeridoo and clapping sticks

Members of the Dhimurru community play didgeridoo and clapping sticks at a ceremony on 16 March 2001 to mark the declaration of Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area in the Northern Territory.

Dhimurru community members carry spears to Robert Hill and Colin Agnew

Two young members of the Dhimurru community carry spears to Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill and Nabalco Pty Ltd general manager Colin Agnew during a ceremony on 16 March 2001 to mark the declaration of Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area in the Northern Territory


Commonwealth of Australia