Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area Proclaimed

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 21:55
ThreadID: 101838 Views:3070 Replies:3 FollowUps:5
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Hi all,

The area of Birriliburu is from today an Indigenous Protected area.

The definition is, "An Indigenous Protected Area is an area of Indigenous-owned land or sea where traditional owners have entered into an agreement with the Australian Government to promote biodiversity and cultural resource conservation."

Todays Media Release 23 April 2013, by Tony Burke MLA, from

More than six million hectares of Western Australia's striking desert country straddling the famous Canning Stock Route will be protected from today with the dedication of the Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area.

Environment Minister Tony Burke sent his congratulations to the hundreds of Martu traditional owners who gathered at well six, about four hours drive from Wiluna, to celebrate.

"All of this country, all six million hectares, belongs to the Birriliburu native title holders. I'd like to thank them for their decision today to dedicate their country for conservation.

"The dedication also means that Australia now has a continuous wildlife corridor of more than 24 million hectares stretching across the centre of our country, taking in seven Indigenous Protected Areas and two nature reserves, stretching from South Australia's APY Lands through the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and on through the Western Deserts.

"Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area itself takes in parts of both the Little Sandy Desert and Gibson Desert, its landscape ranging from sand dunes, sandstone mountain ranges to salt lakes and claypans.

"It's home to a surprisingly high number of vulnerable or threatened species like the black-flanked rock wallaby, brush-tailed mulgara, greater bilby and the great desert skink.

"Ancient rock art galleries and culturally significant sites are scattered throughout the area, including the extraordinary yet largely unknown Carnarvon Range.

"The Australian Government is proudly supporting the Birriliburu native title holders to dedicate this Indigenous Protected Area. We've provided $700,000 since 2009 to help them manage this vast landscape for all Australians.

"It's another great example of Indigenous Australians successfully managing their country while providing local employment through ranger programs."

Birriliburu joins an Australia-wide network of 54 Indigenous Protected Areas, protecting more than 43 million hectares across the country.

I presume that Central Desert Native Title Services will have a major say in what will happen to this area, which takes in some of the Canning Stock Route. Being business members on Exploroz, they may wish to comment.

All in all, it sounds like a great way to protect the biodiversity of the area, though I do wonder whether the current travel restrictions will be modified or maintained.

Please add your positive/general comments if you wish, any negative racial comments will be referred to the moderators for deletion.


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Reply By: lizard - Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 23:24

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 23:24
"The dedication also means that Australia now has a continuous wildlife corridor" , so does that mean they have abandoned their 'traditional ways' .... interesting
AnswerID: 509639

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 10:30

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 10:30
Don't know that their "traditional ways" and "conservation of wildlife" are mutually exclusive. They seem to have been able to manage for the last few thousand years without outside intervention.
Having said that I am not sure hunting from the back of a 4WD with a rifle qualifies as "traditional".


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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 22:03

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 22:03
Still need an agree button........ thanks just doesn't cut it.
FollowupID: 787680

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 12:18

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 12:18
Thats all great if it is managed properly.........If not the whole area becomes over run with ferrals and actually destroys wildlife and threatened spices not protects them.
Sorry to sound like a pesimist, but it all sounds way too familiar......a few years down the track the fences have been trampled by feral camels, the neighbouring properties stock are wandering all over it, camp dogs and feral cats are out hunting natives, waterholes, bores, wells etc destroyed by camels and stock and rubbish spread from aresole to breakfast.
I havent seen to many land hand backs that have turrned out to be the big sucess story that was promoted.....have you?

But the government probably secured some new minning deal through it.........

Would be interesting to re visit this topic in a few years time and see how far it has developed?

AnswerID: 509740

Follow Up By: equinox - Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 13:16

Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 at 13:16
I'm happy to give them the benefit of any doubt and see how things go. It's their land (to the extent that the Native Title Determination allows) so they're entitled to do whatever they like with it.

Agree, will be interesting to revisit in a few years.

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Reply By: Central Desert Native Title Services - Friday, Apr 26, 2013 at 19:49

Friday, Apr 26, 2013 at 19:49
Firstly, good on you equinox for catching the story and making the effort to do your research on what an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is the background to the Birriliburu IPA. It is always good to start a conversation coming from a very well informed position. Indeed the IPA does provide an excellent framework to protect the important biodiversity and cultural values of these incredible lands, but it also lays the foundations for much needed and meaningful job opportunities in this very remote part of WA.

Since having their native title recognised in 2008, the Birriliburu Traditional Owners have worked very hard in partnership with a range of organisations to better manage this country and to build their capacity to keep this going into the future. For those who have been along the Canning Stock Route (CSR) over the past few years, you will have no doubt either come across the Birriliburu rangers or seen some of the results of their enthusiastic work with partner organisations.

Just last week, the rangers were working hard with Trackcare WA to install a toilet, traffic control bollards (to keep vehicles from causing more damage to the banks), a walk trail and information shelter at the popular Windich Spring. This followed a successful collaboration last year installing a toilet and fire rings at Well 12. The other activities that CSR travellers may have noted is 'patch' burning of spinifex country along the way to make sure that there is good habitat for native animals and to protect areas where threatened species have been recorded as well as interacting with tourists along the CSR about the work that they are doing.

Perhaps less obvious is the work that the rangers have been doing around biodiversity surveys (including threatened species), rock hole and soak maintenance and water testing (to monitor for change over time). These activities, along with the fire work, is not confined to the CSR. In the next few months, CSR travellers may come across the Birriliburu rangers working with Desert Discovery doing additional surveys for threatened species, doing more 'patch' burning and working with the Jigalong Rangers and the State Department of Environment and Conservation in a project to protect black flanked rock wallabies a bit further north.

All good solid stuff.

As far as having a major say goes, Central Desert Native Title Services will continue to facilitate partnerships for the IPA on behalf of the Birriliburu Traditional Owners, to respond to their priorities and to support them in getting the information they need to make good decisions, for as long as they require our services. We would certainly welcome enquiries from any readers who may be interested in making a contribution to the important work that the Birriliburu Traditional Owners and rangers have committed to.

There has been no indication of changes to the current arrangements for travelling the CSR.

We look forward to ongoing positive dialogue.
AnswerID: 509857

Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Apr 27, 2013 at 21:15

Saturday, Apr 27, 2013 at 21:15
Thank you for responding.

It appears as if the TO's are doing what they can to respond to the changing needs of the area, implementing ideas to protect the culture and biodiversity of this immense land area.

I am happy to hear that you will continue to facilitate partnerships, such as Trackcare and Desert Discovery, and favor possible future bona fide partnerships that parallel that of the TO's and IPA's core ideas and goals.


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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 10:59

Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 10:59
Central , unfortunately there have already been negative impacts for travellers along the Canning in recent years.

One may wish to follow the spirit of Alan's suggestion and limit comments to Positive or Neutral but in the end ignoring the real situation or the creation of artifical senarios guarantees long term failure.

Robin Miller

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