The McGowan Government has today released the draft joint management plan for the proposed Niiwalarra Islands National Park and Lesueur Island Nature Reserve for people to have their say.
The draft joint management plan covers the islands that form the Niiwalarra islands and Lesueur Island, which are located off the coast of the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
The islands will be jointly vested with the Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation and the Conservation and Parks Commission. They will be jointly managed by the Balanggarra traditional owners (Kwini people) and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
Niiwalarra is the traditional Kwini name for Sir Graham Moore Island. Niiwalarra islands refers to the island group, ‘Sir Graham Moore islands’.
The release of this draft joint management plan is a major milestone in the implementation of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement for the Joint Management of the North Kimberley Marine Park, Sir Graham Moore Islands National Park and Lesueur Island Nature Reserve in Balanggarra country, which was registered in 2017.
The Niiwalarra islands are exceptional for their significant Aboriginal cultural connection and sites, as well as other heritage values including trepang processing settlements from South-East Asia, European exploration by the British in the 19th century, and World War Two heritage sites.
Niiwalarra features geologically diverse landscapes and wetlands that support a rich biodiversity, including a range of birds, reptiles, land snails, and numerous plants and plant communities.
The natural values of Lesueur Island include significant turtle nesting areas and habitats which support extensive seabird breeding.
The plan is available online for public comment at https://www.dbca.wa.gov.au/haveyoursay
Public submissions are open until June 5, 2019.
As stated by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
“Managing these Kimberley islands in partnership with traditional owners will have many benefits, such as enhanced connection to country and customary activities, sharing knowledge and opportunities for job creation.
“These islands are nationally important as part of the naturally and culturally significant North Kimberley National Biodiversity Hotspot and West Kimberley National Heritage Area.
“The draft joint management plan supports opportunities for Kwini people to provide tourism experiences for the appreciation of the islands’ natural landscape, cultural and heritage values.”