Indigenous groups care for country
■ A new project will see the continued protection of cultural and biodiversity values across the Indigenous Protected Areas of Birriliburu and Kiwirrkurra.
The project is a collaboration between the Central Desert Native Title Service and Rangelands NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
Rangelands NRM Desert and Pilbara program manager Chris Curnow said traditional owners from the desert country of Birriliburu and Kiwirrkurra IPAs would continue working to support rare and threatened fauna, including the crest-tailed mulgara, greater bilby and the greater desert skink.
“Desert land managers are increasingly being recognised for the huge role they play in maintaining connection to country in outback Australia,” he said.
“Through combining traditional knowledge with contemporary science, IPA management work will continue to concentrate on reinstating traditional cool mosaic patch burning practices, feral animal control and a program of surveying and monitoring of impacts on natural and cultural areas listed as priority assets.”
Traditional owners for Kiwirrkurra and Birriliburu native title determinations were given IPA status for their country in September 2014 and April 2013 respectively.
Mr Curnow said the project would help to deliver employment and empower indigenous skills and futures.
“Traditional owners are working with partner organisations to protect country and pass on knowledge through land management programs,” he said.
“This will strengthen their capacity to deliver strong environmental and social outcomes across special lands now recognised with IPA status. Traditional owners are already involved in a variety of partnerships to bring much-needed resources to these under-funded regions.”
A national collaboration — Bush Blitz — will undertake an intensive scientific biodiversity survey on Kiwirrkurra country this month, and other collaborations with the likes of Telstra, Desert Discovery, Bush Heritage Australia and State NRM will assist traditional owners to further manage the Birriliburu and Kiwirrkurra IPAs .
Central Desert’s land and community general manager Rob Thomas said there were great outcomes resulting from the five year partnership between CDNTS and Rangelands NRM.
“This project builds on ‘Keeping Desert Country Healthy’ which supported the Birriliburu people working in the Little Sandy Desert,” he said.
“We have increased viability of habitat for threatened species as well as increased capacity of traditional owners to manage their country. This work is also fostering inter-generational knowledge exchange and providing training and skills development, all through oncountry doing and training.”
Kiwirrkurra Rangers will be part of the project to maintain cultural values and biodiversity.