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We are a strong advocate for increased funding for Indigenous led conservation in northern Australia.
ACF has welcomed commitments in recent years from federal and state governments to support successful Indigenous conservation efforts such as Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA) program. The IPA Program, administered by the Federal Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, was recognised in 2006 as being a highly successful initiative that enhances Australia’s protected areas network, and delivers tangible improvements in the health and well being of Indigenous communities that have an IPA.
These positive outcomes are the reason why the Federal Government increased funding to the IPA Program in 2006 from $3m to $6m; and again in 2008 up to $50m as part of a $180m boost to the National Reserve System.
We stated at the time that the 2006 IPA Review Report was a glowing appraisal of the hard work and dedication Indigenous people go to protect their traditional lands and conserve high value conservation lands for all Australians. The IPA Program had until recently, operated with very limited funding so the increases have been very welcome. There is now adequate funding and not surprisingly, Indigenous communities Australia wide are interested in volunteering their lands to be protected under the IPA program.
Additional funding and resources are required, however, to enable Indigenous communities to leverage other opportunities from IPAs. The creation of other sustainable economic and social options for Indigenous landowners and managers is part of ACF's vision to see a culture and conservation economy across northern Australia. Likewise, we would like to see conservation outcomes achieved on Indigenous lands in northern Australia in a manner that involves genuine collaboration through joint management and mutual understanding.
IPAs are part of the National Reserve System and as such must be managed in accordance with international standards. Worldwide there is an increasing call for protected areas to be wholly managed by Indigenous people.
For more information on Indigenous conservation go to Indigenous Australians Caring for Country website.