A delegation from Mimal Land Management is meeting with Federal politicians in Canberra to back a push to boost support for Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA) in Australia and to submit its own plan for a proposed IPA in south-central Arnhem Land.
Mimal is joining with other ranger groups from the Indigenous land and sea management sector to meet with the Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and the Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney, along with MPs across the political spectrum.
It’s part of an event held by Country Needs People at Parliament House Canberra on Thursday Nov 24 to celebrate the success of IPA’s and Indigenous rangers and to discuss how to build a strong foundation for the future.
Mimal’s deputy chairperson and elder Annette Miller says IPA’s recognise the vital work First Nation’s land managers do to protect the environment and cut carbon emissions as well as grow employment, especially in remote areas.
“Mimal rangers have been working hard to protect country for more than 20 years and more recently have established programs that further support our connection to country and culture,” Ms Miller said.
“Our Learning on Country program with Bulman school children has grown, we’ve developed a seasonal calendar in Dalabon and Remberrnga languages and helped to develop a strong women’s network in the Northern Territory.”
“Declaring an IPA is another step forward in Mimal’s work to support us to live and thrive on our country.”
The proven success of IPA’s since the program began in 1997, lead Mimal landowners and custodians to want to set up their own IPA across 18,300 square kilometres (1.83 million hectares) of south-central Arnhem Land.
In 2019, they embarked on a journey to complete consultation and development of an IPA management plan, amid a global pandemic, collaborating with researchers and scientists to map and prioritise Mimal’s environmental and cultural assets, identify threats and outline methods to deal with them.
“We want to join with our neighbours Warddeken, Djelk/Bawinanga and the South-East IPA to create one big protected area across the Top End,” Ms MIller said.
“We have important animals to protect and we want to continue with a strong fire management program to keep reducing carbon emissions.”
Ms Miller says she looks forward to handing Mimal’s IPA plan to the Federal Ministers in person.
“I’ve been told IPA’s make up over more than half of all Australia’s protected areas, national parks and reserves on land,” Ms Miller said.
“It shows that Aboriginal people are making them a success to bring environmental, cultural and social benefits - locally, nationally and globally.
“We look forward to joining them and to keep growing protection of country, culture and community.”