The Wiluna Martu celebrated the dedication of the Matuwa and Kurrara Kurrara Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) this month with more than 200 people from the Wiluna and District communities, Wiluna Martu Traditional Owners and other invited guests and partners gathering in remote Western Australia.
Nearly 600,000 hectares of land was dedicated as the country’s 69th IPA on 3 July 2015 at the event organised by the Central Desert Native Title Service (Central Desert), on behalf of the registered native title body corporate Tarlka Matuwa Piarku (Aboriginal Corporation) and the Wiluna Martu people.
Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Desert & Pilbara) Chris Curnow attended the event held at a site 165 km east northeast of Wiluna and said it was a privilege to have had the opportunity to be taken on country and feel the importance of this land to the people.
“The community was clearly excited and very welcoming,” he said.
Wiluna Martu have come a long way, maintaining their connection to country while it was part of a working sheep and cattle station through to their decision to seek IPA status.
Central Desert’s General Manager Land and Community, Rob Thomas, said the dedication is the culmination of many years of hard work and goodwill from many people.
“For the Wiluna Traditional Owners, the ongoing support of the IPA program is absolutely critical in enabling them to develop and realise a vision for Matuwa and Kurrara Kurrara and for the future of the Wiluna community,” he said.
Mr Thomas said the relationships, skills and confidence that has come from partnering for the IPA would not only see great conservation outcomes for Australia, but paves the way for traditional owners to make the most of other collaboration, enterprise and employment opportunities in the region.
IPAs assert a powerful statement about traditional connection to country and make a significant contribution to Australian biodiversity conservation – making up more than a third of Australia’s National Reserve System.
By managing IPAs, Traditional Owners can protect their significant cultural values for future generations which also has health, education, economic and social benefits.
For more information on the ceremony and the IPA, see Central Desert Land and Community’s facebook page and website.