Closing the gap for Indigenous Australians - Indigenous protected areas 

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage, and the Arts (DEHWA)

Key Elements

The Australian Government has tripled its funding for Indigenous Protected Areas, investing $50 million over the next five years through the $2.25 billion Caring for our Country initiative.


The Indigenous Protected Areas element of Caring for our Country has two objectives:

  • To support Indigenous land owners to develop, declare and manage Indigenous Protected Areas on their lands; and
  • To support Indigenous interests to develop cooperative management arrangements with government agencies managing protected areas.

Indigenous Protected Areas make an important contribution to Australia's network of parks and reserves - the National Reserve System. Australia's 24 existing Indigenous Protected Areas cover over 20 million hectares of land, and the $50 million through Caring for our Country will help expand that significantly.

It will help Indigenous communities establish new Indigenous Protected Areas, negotiate new cooperative management arrangements over existing protected areas, and it will increase funding for the declared Indigenous Protected Areas to expand the range of on-ground works they deliver for government.

There are strong links between the Working on Country and Indigenous Protected Areas elements of Caring for our Country. Working on Country creates Indigenous ranger jobs by contracting Indigenous Australians to deliver environmental services. A number of the existing Working on Country contracts employ rangers to do environmental work on Indigenous Protected Areas.


The measure will begin on 1 July 2008. It will be implemented through a grants process. Applications can be received at any time.

Implementation will involve Indigenous organisations, Indigenous land management agencies and Indigenous land councils across Australia. Payments will be made direct to the Indigenous communities conducting the Indigenous Protected Areas activities.

Total Government Funding

$50 million over five years.

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