Indige­nous groups get stake in parks

Pilbara News - - News - Daniel Mercer and Ali­cia Per­era

Changes to the own­er­ship struc­ture of na­tional parks to al­low tra­di­tional own­ers greater in­flu­ence have been wel­comed by a Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal cor­po­ra­tion.

Environment Min­is­ter Al­bert Ja­cob said leg­isla­tive changes passed in Par­lia­ment at the end of last year would al­low na­tive ti­tle­hold­ers to more eas­ily pur­sue pro­pos­als such as tourism de­vel­op­ments in con­ser­va­tion es­tates.

The changes come af­ter a shakeup of the Con­ser­va­tion and Land Man­age­ment Act, which sets out how WA’s na­tional parks and na­ture re­serves are used and pro­tected.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Ja­cob, joint vest­ing of con­ser­va­tion ar­eas with indige­nous groups al­ready hap­pens in prac­tice through the poli­cies of the Government, par­tic­u­larly in the Kim­ber­ley.

But he said the leg­isla­tive changes, which are due to come into ef­fect in Fe­bru­ary, would en­shrine the rights of tra­di­tional own­ers as part­ners with the Government. Vest­ing would be done on a parkby-park ba­sis.

Mr Ja­cob cited two ex­am­ples where the ar­range­ments would im­me­di­ately be put into prac­tice — in the Roe­buck Bay Marine Park off Broome and in the South West as part of a set­tle­ment with the Noon­gar peo­ple. He said they would cre­ate more em­ploy­ment and op­por­tu­ni­ties for Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple. “It’s go­ing to be much less about stop­ping things hap­pen­ing than it is about open­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties for new things to hap­pen that might not have hap­pened be­fore, ” Mr Ja­cob said.

In the Pil­bara, Yind­jibarndi Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Wood­ley wel­comed the amend­ments for giv­ing the cor­po­ra­tion more say over the Mill­stream-Chich­ester Na­tional Park area.

“Any de­ci­sion that in­cludes par­tial or full rights to indige­nous Aus­tralians in re­gards to land man­age­ment over na­tional parks is a move in the right di­rec­tion,” he said.

“For the Yind­jibarndi and Ngur­rawaana rangers who as­sist in land man­age­ment of Yind­jibarndi Ngurra, th­ese amend­ments be­come very im­por­tant to how the land must be cared for, as the sur­vival of Yind­jibarndi’s ge­nealog­i­cal con­nec­tion to Ngurra rest on the very essence that we have rights to speak for our in­her­i­tance.”

A Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife spokesman for the Mu­ru­juga Park Coun­cil, a part­ner­ship of Mu­ru­juga Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion, DPaW and the Depart­ment of Abo­rig­i­nal Af­fairs, said the amend­ments were un­likely to change its han­dling of Mu­ru­juga Na­tional Park on the Bur­rup Penin­sula be­cause the coun­cil has had over­all man­age­ment power from its in­cep­tion.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

A con­voy of four-wheel-drive ve­hi­cles heads into Mu­ru­juga Na­tional Park.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.