Kakadu is Aboriginal land. Our people have kept it healthy for thousands of years. Today, we work hand-in-hand with Parks Australia to manage Kakadu, using a mix of traditional ways and modern science.
Since the late 1970s Kakadu's traditional owners have leased their land to the Director of National Parks to be jointly managed as a national park. Joint management is about Bininj/Mungguy and Parks Australia working together, solving problems, sharing decision making and exchanging knowledge, skills and information.
We aboriginal people have obligations to care for our country, to look after djang, to communicate with our ancestors when on country and to teach all of this to the next generations.
- Combined statement from the Aboriginal members of the Kakadu National Park Board of Management.
The park is proclaimed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) and is managed through a joint management arrangement between the Aboriginal traditional owners and the Director of National Parks. The director manages Commonwealth national parks through Parks Australia, which is a part of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Approximately 50 per cent of the land in the park is Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, and most of the remaining area of land is under claim by Aboriginal people. Title to Aboriginal land in the park is held by Aboriginal land trusts. The land trusts have leased their land to the Director of National Parks for the purpose of a national park for the enjoyment and benefit of all Australians. Traditional owners have also expected that having their land managed as a national park would assist them in looking after their land in the face of growing and competing pressures. They saw a national park as establishing a way to manage the land that could protect their interests and be sympathetic to their aspirations. Parks Australia and the Aboriginal traditional owners of Kakadu are committed to the principle of joint management of the park. Arrangements to help this happen are highlighted throughout the Kakadu National Park Management Plan (2007-2014).
Boards of management
The EPBC Act requires boards of management to be established for parks on Aboriginal land. The Kakadu Board of Management, which has an Aboriginal majority (10 out of 15 members), representing the Aboriginal traditional owners of land in the park, was established in 1989. The Board determines policy for managing the park and is responsible, along with the director, for preparing plans of management for the park. The management plan is the main policy document for the park and strives to balance strategic or long-term goals and tactical or day to day goals.
The Kakadu National Park Management Plan 2007-2014
The Kakadu National Park Management Plan 2007 - 2014 is the fifth management plan prepared for Kakadu since its establishment in 1975. The plan guides the management of the park until 31 December 2013. It is based on experiences associated with managing the park since 1979. Management plans consider how to conserve the natural and cultural values, while protecting the interests of the park's traditional owners and providing for safe and enriching experiences for visitors.
The plan focuses on developing partnerships between government, the private sector and traditional owners to provide new opportunities for visitors and new business opportunities for local Aboriginal people.
A new management plan for Kakadu
A new management plan is currently under development. It will guide how the park is managed for the next 10 years. Find out more about developing the new plan, including updates, here.