Director of National Parks
Koongarra becomes part of Kakadu
18 February 2013
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The shady woodlands of Koongarra have been officially added to Kakadu National Park, protecting the area’s rich cultural heritage.
Director of National Parks, Peter Cochrane said this final step ensures Koongarra can never be mined, giving it permanent protection under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
“At the stroke of midnight on Thursday night, Koongarra became part of Kakadu National Park, protecting it forever from the possibility of mining,” Mr Cochrane said.
“This historic moment fulfils a decades-long campaign by Koongarra’s senior custodian Jeffrey Lee, who has long lobbied for his land to be protected as part of Kakadu.
“Helping this humble man protect his country has been a true honour for everyone involved.
“To every visitor who pauses at the lookout at Nourlangie Rock and marvels at that spectacular view - you are looking at Mr Lee’s country, and you are witnessing the legacy of a great Australian.”
The proclamation of Koongarra as part of Kakadu National Park completes a three year process by the Australian Government to protect these spectacular ancestral lands.
Last week the Governor General signed the proclamation adding Koongarra to Kakadu National Park, a change that came into force at midnight on Thursday 14 February 2013 (10:30 pm in the Northern Territory).
Koongarra lies in the shadow of Nourlangie Rock, one of Kakadu's most popular visitor destinations, with rock art galleries that bear witness to the close relationship Aboriginal people have with their land and spiritual heritage.
On its other side, Koongarra faces Lightning Dreaming, home of Namarrgon or Lightning Man, the creation ancestor responsible for the dramatic electrical storms on the Arnhem plateau.
Last week the House of Representatives threw its support behind Koongarra’s protection, passing a bill to repeal the Koongarra Project Area Act – a law created in 1981 to make uranium mining economically feasible at Koongarra.
Media contact: Margot Marshall 0418 624 847