Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Connect with the World Indigenous Network

Media release
19 December 2012

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, today launched a website to connect Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities land and sea managers across the globe, creating a virtual meeting place to share traditional knowledge and experiences.

Mr Burke said the online platform was a virtual step forward on the journey of the World Indigenous Network from the shores of the beautiful Sunday Island in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia to Brazil and now the four corners of our globe.

"Land and sea managers will be able to extend their reach globally by posting case studies, exchanging ideas and stories to strengthen their relationships across the world," he said.

"I encourage Indigenous and Local Community land and sea managers to join the online conversation, to learn from each other in the lead up to the inaugural World Indigenous Network Conference in Darwin in May.

"The conference will bring together hundreds of people over four days to share learnings, knowledge and experience to better manage the environment, develop innovative solutions to environmental challenges and support sustainable livelihoods in communities across the globe.

"Some of the best environmental work that is done in Australia is done by the Indigenous rangers here and the idea for the network and the conference came directly from those local communities of Indigenous peoples in Australia.

"Indigenous rangers hold some of the most important knowledge to protect our environment that exists around the world and we are very proud to be able to help provide an avenue for that to be shared.

"The Network aims to bring people together to provide practical on ground ideas for land and sea managers to develop economic opportunities in their communities and alleviate poverty."

Since Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the World Indigenous Network at the Rio +20 summit in Brazil in June, the Australian Government has established a National Advisory Group to support and provide strategic direction for the network and conference.

The National Advisory Group, co chaired by Melissa George, brings together key Indigenous representatives from around Australia.

"The Network will increase the profile of Indigenous and Local Community land and sea managers around the world. It is also about others recognising their attachment to country - their environment is underpinned by cultural obligation and responsibility," Ms George said.

"We share the one planet, so the work of Indigenous and Local Community land and sea managers in environmental protection and biodiversity conservation is essentially for the world's good.''

The World Indigenous Network Conference will be held in Darwin from 26-31 May, 2013. Register your interest in the Network now at and join the conversation on Twitter @worldindignet and Facebook 'World Indigenous Network'.