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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Warren Snowdon MP
Member for Lingiari
Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health & Regional Services Delivery

Far reaching protection for Australia's top end environment

Media release
24 September 2009

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Australia's Top End will have a huge conservation corridor stretching from Kakadu's stone country to the Arafura Sea, with the declaration of two substantial new Indigenous Protected Areas.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett today joined traditional owners and Indigenous rangers from across the Top End to celebrate the declaration of the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area. The IPA covers almost 1.4 million hectares of spectacular stone and gorge country on the Arnhem Land plateau adjacent to Kakadu National Park.

The Minister also announced a further $8.5 million investment by the Australian Government in Indigenous Protected Areas, with just over $6.3 million from Caring for our Country and another $2.2 million from the Indigenous Land Corporation.

"Indigenous Protected Areas are one of Australia's most successful conservation stories - they protect Australia's biodiversity while providing training and employment for Aboriginal people doing work that they love on their own country," Mr Garrett said.

"Warrdeken is home to dozens of unique native plants and a host of threatened species including the bustard, northern quoll and the Oenpelli python - it also has a wealth of fantastic rock art, rivalling Kakadu in its splendour," Mr Garrett said.

"Tomorrow we'll be celebrating the declaration of the Djelk Indigenous Protected Area, more than 670,000 hectares sweeping from Warrdeken right though to the Arafura Sea.

"More than 100 Indigenous clan groups have worked together to declare Djelk's country as a protected area.

"Their decision will help protect threatened species - from the marine turtles that breed on Djelk's coastline and islands, the file snakes on the seasonal floodplains through to the world's richest variety of reptiles that live on the sandstone plateaus."

Mr Snowdon said: "The declaration of these two Indigenous Protected Areas means much better conservation outcomes which will benefit all Australians. As the IPAs lie right next to the two million hectare Kakadu National Park, we now have the opportunity for rangers to work together to manage whole ecosystems against the threats of climate change and invasive pests. It's a phenomenal wildlife corridor."

Mr Garrett said IPAs were already working together with industry in ground breaking carbon abatement partnerships and they are engaging in collaborative scientific research to become active participants in a future biodiversity credit scheme.

"The IPAs are helping close the gap of Indigenous disadvantage, with communities reporting better health, social cohesion and higher school attendance."

For full IPA funding, 2009-10:

Commonwealth of Australia