Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

The Indigenous Protected Areas program - 2006 Evaluation

By Brian Gilligan
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006
ISBN 0642553254

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About the publication

In 2006 the Minister for the Environment and Heritage initiated an evaluation of the Indigenous Protected Area Program. An extensive consultation process including visits to most states and territories was undertaken in the first half of 2006. This process also included a call for public submissions, summaries of which have been incorporated into the review document.

The evaluation considers the extent to which the Program has contributed to meeting Australian Government policy priorities to date and the capacity for enhancing these priorities. It also considers the effectiveness of the Programs delivery of conservation, economic, cultural and social benefits in the context of sustainable natural resource management at landscape, regional and national scales.

The evaluation by the former Director-General of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Mr. Brian Gilligan, has hailed the Australian Government's Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) Program as the nation's "most successful innovation in Indigenous conservation".

The IPA Program commenced as a pilot in 1995 with the dual aims of supporting Indigenous land management and achieving national conservation objectives. Today the IPA Program supports 22 declared IPA's covering a total of 14.9 million hectares in every state and territory of Australia (with the exception of the ACT).

This independent review recognizes the value of the Australian government's $14.8 million dollar investment in this program and has found that:

The review also found that in addition to important biodiversity and conservation outcomes, communities involved in the IPA Program report significant additional benefits. In particular it confirms that IPAs create proven pathways to meaningful jobs looking after land and a framework for skills development.

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Cover of the Indigenous Protected Areas program 2006 Evaluation Report

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