Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

The Hon. Warren Snowdon MP

Member for Lingiari

New Indigenous Protected Area in the Gulf of Carpentaria

Media release
17 May 2012

The heart of Gulf of Carpentaria country will be protected for future generations with the declaration of the Yanyuwa Indigenous Protected Area.

Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon today joined hundreds of Yanyuwa traditional owners gathered at Borroloola on the MacArthur River to celebrate the declaration of their country as an Indigenous Protected Area.

Stretching across 130,000 hectares, from ancient land running alongside the magnificent McArthur River, the Yanyuwa Indigenous Protected Area takes in the Sir Edward Pellew Islands which are of world conservation significance and support a large number of nesting sites for green and flatback turtles and seabirds.

"Today is a celebration of the Yanyuwa people's connection with country," Mr Snowdon said.

"The Yanyuwa rangers, known as li-Anthawirriyarra or 'people of the sea', do invaluable work in looking after this spectacular country bringing conservation benefits to all Australians, as well as significant spin-off benefits for the health and wellbeing of local Aboriginal communities.

"That's why the Gillard Government is providing more than $2 million over two years to the Yanyuwa Indigenous Protected Area and li-Anthawirriyarra Working on Country rangers to support the work they do.

"Together Indigenous Protected Areas and Working on Country rangers form one of Australia's most successful conservation stories, protecting biodiversity while providing training and employment for Aboriginal people doing work that they love on their own country," Mr Snowdon said.

Environment Minister Tony Burke sent his congratulations to the Yanyuwa people, thanking them for their commitment to managing their natural and cultural heritage.

"The Yanyuwa rangers are doing vital work to protect culturally important dugong and green turtles, monitoring marine mammal populations and protecting the seagrass beds by removing debris like ghost nets, " Mr Burke said.

"They are actively managing feral cats and pigs on the islands of this IPA, where a wide range of habitats provide important refuges for native mammals threatened on the mainland.

"On the mainland, they are actively managing weeds and feral animals, protecting the McArthur River and the waterholes which give life to a variety of fish, and to bush medicine and food plants that local communities continue to use today. "Like all Indigenous Protected Areas, Yanyuwa is now part of our National Reserve System our nation's most secure way of protecting native habitat for future generations."

For more information about Yanyuwa IPA: www.environment.gov.au/indigenous/ipa/declared/yanyuwa