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Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation Indigenous Protected Area Management Plan

Category: Event
Date: 1 October 2000
Sub Category:Plan of Management
Location:North-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Subject Matter:Cultural Heritage | Environmental Heritage | Employment and Training | Land Management | Collaboration / Partnership
Summary Information:
The Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation Indigenous Protected Area Management Plan (Management Plan), of October 2000, is the first Management Plan prepared for an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) in the Northern Territory.
Detailed Information:
The Management Plan acknowledges three main underpinning values: Yolngu (Aboriginal) values, which are regarded as the primary focus for the Plan and the protection of which is seen as fundamental to the success of the IPA; natural heritage values which are regarded as outstanding (northeast Arnhem Land generally is noted for the intactness of plant and animal communities); and community values, such as recreation.

The current primary management issues are:

1 Protection of Yolngu cultural values: this is a 'threshold management issue' and management actions are focused on protecting Yolngu values ascribed to the IPA lands;

2. Visitor management: which is controlled through a permit system which also provides 20% of the Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation (Dhimurru) operational budget;

3. Access management: by way of, for example, demarcation of preferred tracks and campsites and closure of others and the making of new access tracks;

4. Rehabilitation: focus is being put on restoration of damage from historical uncontrolled access to sites;

5. Wildlife protection and research: a number of collaborative wildlife research projects have been undertaken with universities and Environment Australia. Dhimurru is especially involved in long term marine turtle research;

6. Fire management: traditional Yolngu fire management practices are encouraged and preferably left to the traditional owners themselves to carry out;

7. Weed control: mainly in relation to hyptis, Mossman River grass and coffee bush;

8. Feral animals: these are a major management issue and include cats, buffalo, pigs and cattle; and

9. Commercial tourism: Dhimurru has negotiated an arrangement with the Northern Land Council under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, for a head licence in relation to tourism operations in the IPA and will examine all other proposals for commercial tourism operations.

Decision making under the Plan is firmly in the hands of the traditional owners of the land who set the management requirements and access arrangements for the IPA. There are direct lines of control and accountability between the traditional owners and Dhimurru. An Executive Committee of Dhimurru meets regularly to give effect to traditional owners requirements, to set the management program and enter into collaborative arrangements with other agencies. Dhimurru carries out the agreed management program and collaborative arrangements and refers issues to the executive or traditional owners for direction. Dhimurru has established a competent Yolngu ranger force.

The Management Plan makes it clear that Yolngu 'welcome the opportunity to collaborate with other agencies to exchange assistance, knowledge and understandings in a mutually respectful relationship'. In particular the Plan states: 'The traditional owners of the IPA have been explicit in their desire to establish a mutually beneficial, collaborative working relationship with the Parks and Wildlife Commission' of the Northern Territory, who formerly had a ranger presence at Nhulunbuy.

The Plan sets out the relationships between the traditional owners, Dhimurru, The Northern Land Council, Environment Australia, Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory and other interests within the IPA land.

The lands subject to the Management Plan are also managed in accordance with the objectives of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature that has set out guidelines for categories of protected area management. These guidelines are set out in an Appendix to the Management Plan.

Related Entries

Agreement
  • Dhimurru Section 73 Agreement
  • Organisation
  • Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation
  • Northern Land Council
  • Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory
  • Department of the Environment and Heritage (Cth)
  • World Conservation Union
  • Legislation
  • Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)
  • People
  • Yolngu Traditional Owners
  • Place
  • Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area

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