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National Media Release
Mr David Hawker, MP
Federal Member for Wannon
Dr Sharman Stone, MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the
Environment and Heritage

8 November 1999

VICTORIA'S FIRST INDIGENOUS PROTECTED AREA ESTABLISHED


453 hectares of traditional Aboriginal lands were today formally declared as Victoria's first Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) in a special ceremony in Yambuk, in the state's South-west.

In launching the Deen Maar IPA, Dr Sharman Stone MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, and Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker MP, praised the Framlingham elders and community for their voluntary commitment to preserving the region's unique and fragile biodiversity and cultural heritage for future generations.

"This region is home to some of Victoria's rarest species. It's addition to the pool of lands to be managed as part of the National Reserve System will benefit not only the traditional owners, but also thousands of tourists who visit the area each year," they said.

An IPA is an area of land or seas dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biodiversity and associated cultural values, using guidelines established by the International Union for Conservation.

"The declaration of the Deen Maar IPA will assist the local Framlingham community to manage with the land through a partnership of customary and contemporary natural resource management practices," Sharman Stone said.

"Since purchasing the land in 1995 the Indigenous community has removed stock, carried out an extensive feral animal and weed control program, revegetated the area and adjusted water levels on the wetland. Their commitment in the last couple of years to the sustainable development and management of the land is an example to all Victorians," Mr Hawker said.

Deen Maar is home to 20 critically endangered Orange Bellied Parrots, about 15% of the total remaining population.

"The recovery program underway at Deen Maar is vital to the survival of this rare parrot. Without the efforts of the Framlingham community to re-establish habitat this precious bird could be lost forever."

To date $154,800 from the Natural Heritage Trust has been invested in conservation and rehabilitation activities including the protection of significant aboriginal cultural sites, weed and feral animal control programs, a recovery program for the critically endangered Orange Bellied Parrot.

The Framlingham Aboriginal Trust also makes a significant contribution to the area's management by reinvesting profits from their eco-tourism business back into conservation and rehabilitation activities.

Deen Maar is the sixth IPA to be established in Australia following Nantawarrina and Yalata in South Australia and Oyster Cove, Risdon Cove and Preminghana in Tasmania.

For further information please contact:
Nicole Johnston Dr Stone's Office, 02 6277 2016 or 0419 219 415
Lisa McDonald, Mr Hawker's Office, 03 5572 1100 or 0407 719 699

Commonwealth of Australia