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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
5 March 2004
The Nari Nari Tribal Council is today celebrating the declaration of Toogimbie, a very special area of NSW as an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).
Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, attended the ceremony and congratulated all who had worked so hard to achieve this special status.
"The IPA program supports indigenous landowners to manage their lands, according to internationally-recognised standards and guidelines, for the protection of natural and cultural values which benefits all Australians," Dr Stone said.
"The IPA program encourages the combination of contemporary practices with indigenous ecological and cultural knowledge that has been successful in managing the landscape sustainably for thousands of years."
Dr Stone said Toogimbie property, belonging to the Nari Nari Tribal Council, contains 35km of Murrumbidgee river frontage that supports remnants of River Red Gum forest and important remnants of Lignum (Muehlenbeckia florulenta) wetland, which was previously not protected in any national reserves.
"The declaration of Toogimbie property as an IPA, is an important step in protecting the Lignum wetland and will help conserve Australia's bio-diversity," Dr Stone said.
"I congratulate the Nari Nari Tribal Council in the Federal Electorate of Riverina for their outstanding efforts and look forward to seeing the positive benefits this will deliver in our local environment.
"The Council recently received a Landcare Australia Indigenous Award recognising their work in protecting fragile wetland vegetation on their land."
Federal Member for Riverina Kay Hull said the declaration of Toogimbie was a feather in the cap for the local Indigenous community.
"Everyone involved has worked so hard for this, particularly the Nari Nari Tribal Council and I congratulate them all," Mrs Hull said.
The Nari Nari Tribal Council will use $80,000 from the Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage to:
Dr Stone said $72,000 was provided in 2002-03 through the Natural Heritage Trust for the first stage of the project. This helped produce a Plan of Management for the property.
Through the NHT Envirofund, $23, 364 was also granted for the Rivercare Program providing funding for river bank stabilisation works and $26,800 came from the Drought Recovery round for water delivery works.
Toogimbie is a 4858 ha property situated within Hay Shire and is covered by Hay Rural Lands Protection Board. It forms part of the Hay-Maude Floodplain in the Murrumbidgee catchment area.
The property is the second IPA to be declared in NSW and the 19th in Australia. In five years, the IPA program has added 13.8 million hectares of unique ecosystems to the National Reserve System.
Dr Stone said the Australian Government will spend more than $2.4 million developing and managing Indigenous Protected Areas in 2003-04, including $1.6 million to manage the nineteen declared Indigenous Protected Areas.
The Indigenous Protected Areas program is a part of the Australian Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust - the largest commitment to environmental management and sustainable agriculture ever made by an Australian Government.
Dr Stone said the recent World Parks Congress held in Durban, South Africa, showed strong interest in the innovative arrangements Australia has developed with Indigenous people for managing the conservation of their property, including traditional lands.
"This approach enables traditional owners to maintain cultural ties with the land and at the same time helping communities to achieve economic independence through the long-term, sustainable management of lands for the benefit of all Australians."
For further information on Indigenous Protected Areas, see the Department of the Environment and Heritage web site at: www.deh.gov.au/indigenous/ipa.