Partnerships underpin planned extension to State parks and reserves

News story
The State Government’s Plan for Our Parks incorporates biodiversity hotspots from the Kimberley to the South Coast. During Biodiversity Month, we take a look at how the Plan is progressing
Ningaloo Reef aerial view, courtesy of Tourism WA

Image: Ningaloo World Heritage area; image courtesy Tourism WA

Plans to expand the State’s national and marine parks and reserves to conserve our unique biodiversity and cultural heritage, and create new tourism opportunities and jobs, is taking shape as conversations with interest holders continue.

The State Government’s Plan for Our Parks supports the Our Priorities: Sharing Prosperity target to increase conservation for future generations through increasing WA’s conservation estate by five million hectares by 2023-24.

Bolstered by more than $22 million in State Government funding, the plan has already delivered a new national park at Houtman Abrolhos Islands, the site of the notorious Batavia mutiny. Tourism and management infrastructure will now be built at the national park over the next two years to support additional tourism generated to the region.

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The creation of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park was only possible thanks to the valuable input we received from the community and industry.

Premier Mark McGowan

“The creation of the national park will protect the islands’ biodiversity, heritage and landscape values and create opportunities for visitors to enjoy their unrivalled beauty,” Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said.

The State Government is committed to working closely with traditional owners in the region to acknowledge their significant interests and connection to the Abrolhos Islands.

Recognition of Aboriginal culture also underpins an expansion to the Murujuga National Park, incorporating a parcel of land previously zoned for industrial use. The Pilbara region is home to the world’s highest concentration of rock art engravings (or petroglyphs).

The expansion involves the section of land being transferred to the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC), to be leased back to the State and managed as part of the Murujuga National Park, which is currently the focus of a World Heritage nomination process.

 “It will enable MAC to progress tourism and socio-economic opportunities, including the Murujuga Living Knowledge Centre and Tourism Precinct. The project will help unlock the tourism potential of the area and create jobs for locals,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

Creating lasting partnerships with traditional owners is a key outcome of Plan for Our Parks.

“We have entered a new era of Aboriginal joint management of parks and I am proud the conservation estate is being expanded in a way that will benefit all Western Australians, now and into the future,” Mark Webb, Director General of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), said in his July update on the progress of the Plan.

DBCA has met with a number of traditional owner groups across the State to understand shared interests and seek support for various reserve proposals. Consultation will continue as the Plan is refined and Indigenous Land Use Agreements are developed to support creation of new or expanded parks.

For more information on the progress of consultation, refer to Director General Webb’s July update.

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Page reviewed 10 September 2019
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