Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Patch burning. Watarru and Walalkara IPA, South Australia | Bruce Rose

Our Country Our Way - developing a management plan

Our Country Our Way

Our Country Our Way is an illustrated guide that can be used by anyone interested in developing a management plan for an Indigenous Protected Area.

Indigenous Protected Area management plans are based on making connections between Indigenous people, country, traditional law, custom and culture with the Australian and international systems for protected area management. Indigenous Protected Area management plans are most effective if they make sure Indigenous peoples drive and determine how protected area management requirements will be met.

Our Country Our Way draws on examples from Indigenous Protected Areas around Australia to illustrate the unique cultural settings and vibrant Indigenous management strategies on country. We thank the many Indigenous traditional owners and custodians for their permission to include examples from their management plans. 

Many people worked on Our Country Our Way. Indigenous Protected Area managers, traditional owners, staff within the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, researchers in the CSIRO, an independent Indigenous consultant, and other management plan consultants have all contributed to its development.

Download and print Our Country Our Way

We have produced Our Country Our Way so you can choose a format that works best for you. You can download and print A3 full colour or A4 black and white, and we have also further broken down Our Country Our Way into sections to reduce file sizes. If you want to use any of the specific examples in individual management plans referred to in Our Country Our Way, you must seek permission from the Indigenous Protected Area responsible. Contact details can be obtained from the respective State and Territory contacts.


Download Our Country Our Way: Guidelines for Australian Indigenous Protected Area Management Plans in colour, A3 size (PDF - 13.32MB)

Or choose a section:

Black and white

Download Our Country Our Way: Guidelines for Australian Indigenous Protected Area Management Plans in black and white, A4 size (PDF - 4.24MB)

If Indigenous groups have difficulty accessing the document, you can send a request for a hard copy through an Indigenous Protected Areas staff member.

We want your feedback

Our Country Our Way is a living document that will be updated on a regular basis to include new technologies, ideas and developments in the Indigenous Protected Areas program. We welcome your feedback which we will consider when we revise Our Country Our Way. You can fill an online form or email us direct at

Guidelines and resources

There are some other excellent guidelines available to assist Indigenous Protected Area managers develop plans based on the western scientific planning approach.