In­dige­nous groups care for coun­try

Pilbara News - - News - Court­ney Fowler

■ 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.”

Pic­ture: Ran­ge­lands NRM

Ki­wirrkurra Rangers will be part of the pro­ject to main­tain cul­tural val­ues and bio­di­ver­sity.

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