Environment Minister Stephen Dawson is encouraging people to have their say on the draft plan for conservation reserves in the west Kimberley that are jointly managed with Bunuba traditional owners.
Covering more than 230,000 hectares, the draft plan includes Danggu Geikie Gorge national and conservation parks, Windjana Gorge National Park, Tunnel Creek National Park, the southern part of King Leopold Ranges Conservation Park and the Devonian Reef Conservation Park.
The reserves are jointly managed with the Bunuba traditional owners and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’ (DBCA) Parks and Wildlife Service following the signing of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement in 2017.
The area features iconic geological formations that provide a range of nature-based and culture-based recreation and tourism opportunities, and are home to multiple endemic and unique aquatic, mammal, reptile and land snail species.
The plan has been developed by DBCA and Bunuba traditional owners (through the Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation) on behalf of the Conservation and Parks Commission. The plan is available at https://www.pws.dbca.wa.gov.au/parks/management-plans/draft-plans-open-for-public-comment and public submissions are open until April 18, 2019.
As stated by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
“These reserves are of immense national and global significance, providing protection for one of the oldest known Aboriginal habitation sites in northern Australia, and the State Government has successfully worked for many years with traditional owners to manage Danggu Geikie Gorge and Windjana Gorge national parks.
“The draft plan is an important milestone for both the State Government and Bunuba people, and we are excited to formalise joint management so this unique area can be conserved and enjoyed for generations to come.
“We anticipate that all the parks will soon be renamed with Bunuba language names, which will help communicate the Bunuba connection to country that has been continuous for tens of thousands of years.
“With initiatives like our Aboriginal Ranger Program and the creation of more Aboriginal joint management arrangements across WA, the McGowan Government is working to improve economic and social outcomes for Aboriginal communities across regional WA.”