Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Women's ceremony Northern Tanami  Northern Territory

Cultural and social benefits

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Our vision is to protect and enhance our culture and history, while encouraging and protecting the natural environment and conserving biodiversity.
Nari Nari Tribal Council

Indigenous Protected Areas deliver more than environmental benefits. Managing Indigenous Protected Areas helps Indigenous communities to protect their significant cultural values for future generations and receive spin-off health, education, economic and social benefits.

For Indigenous Australians, the phrase 'caring for country' means a deep spiritual attachment to the land, to creation beings, plants and animals, to the source of rules for living and stories, to dance, songs and art. Indigenous Protected Areas create jobs for Indigenous men and women doing what they want to do - working and looking after their land in a healthy environment.

Indigenous Protected Areas help Indigenous communities continue their cultural traditions while caring for country and promoting community well-being. Many Indigenous Protected Areas are also in regions of high unemployment, so the rangers and managers become role models for their communities. Indigenous rangers are also engaging with on-the-job training programs in literacy and numeracy, law enforcement, coxswain's licence, business administration and Indigenous leadership.

Indigenous Protected Areas rangers act as a positive role model to young children, helping to improve school attendance. The rangers' own employment helps provide further financial stability in the community.

Indigenous rangers work with non-Indigenous and Indigenous school classes on environmental and cultural issues. Day to day activities include interpretive activities for visitors, protection of rock art, cultural history and language projects. Traditional bush tucker and medicine plant knowledge is taught on country to younger generations.

Some Indigenous Protected Areas establish tourism businesses or bush tucker nurseries for the manufacture and sale of Indigenous foods. Most of each Indigenous Protected Area's budget is spent locally, ensuring ongoing employment and the viability of local businesses.

These activities have many real benefits to health, education, employment and social cohesion.

All this is made possible through the Indigenous Protected Areas element of the Caring for our Country initiative. Indigenous communities can receive funding and other assistance from the Australian Government to develop and declare their own Indigenous Protected Area.