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Joint Media Release
The Hon. Dr Sharman Stone MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
&
Senator Nigel Scullion
Senator for The Northern Territory

17 August 2004

Support for Groote Eylandt Indigenous protected area


An area of the Arnhem Coast that contains some of the most remote and intact large natural systems in Australia has received $80,000 funding from the Australian Government to investigate its development as an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).

Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, congratulated the Anindilyakwa Land Council, traditional owners and members of the Anindilyakwa community for their efforts in protecting and conserving their country.

"Anindilyakwa (Groote Eylandt) is located in a biologically important area. It includes important breeding areas for six species of marine turtles and its many islands are important refuges for species under threat on the mainland," Dr Stone said.

The Indigenous Protected Areas program is a part of the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust, the largest ever commitment by an Australian Government to environmental management and sustainable agriculture. Over five years, the IPA program has added 13.8 million hectares of unique ecosystems to the National Reserve System.

" Indigenous landowners are being supported through the IPA program to manage their lands and protect the natural and cultural features in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines for the benefit of all Australians ," Dr Stone said.

"The Anindilyakwa lands and seas would be a valuable addition to the National Reserve System."

Major projects for the next year include weed and feral animal control programs around settlements, and managing access to recreation areas to minimise the impact from recreation and tourism activities.

Dr Stone thanked Federal Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion for his support and commitment to progressing the development of Anindilyakwa as an IPA.

Senator Scullion said the funding will allow the Anindilyakwa Land Council to prepare a draft Plan of Management for Anindilyakwa and identify likely areas to be managed as an Indigenous Protected Area.

"The Anindilyakwa community is working tirelessly to protect their country, and to ensure the future of the land is preserved. I congratulate them on securing this funding and look forward to working with them to progress their application," Senator Scullion said.

For further information on Indigenous Protected Areas, see the Australian Government's Department of the Environment and Heritage web site at www.deh.gov.au/indigenous/ipa

Commonwealth of Australia