A declaration ceremony was held at Mungalla Station, near Ingham, on Saturday 8 June to celebrate the historic milestone.
An Indigenous Protected Area is an area of Indigenous-owned land and/or sea where Traditional Owners have entered into an agreement with the Australian Government to promote biodiversity and cultural resource conservation.
The GRIPA is a voluntary declaration by the Djiru, Bandjin, Gulnay, Girramay, Warrgamay, Warungnu, Gugu Badhun and Nywaigi (with the support of Jirrbal) Traditional Owners.
Country within the GRIPA forms part of the internationally recognised Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas.
Wet Tropics executive director Andrew Maclean said the GRIPA was a tremendous achievement for Girringun and their Traditional Owner member groups.
“With the Wet Tropics Management Authority involved in this collaboration I fully appreciate all the hard work done and congratulate Girringun for their leadership. Their GRIPA certainly complements and enhances the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.”
“That is why we have signed a partnership Memorandum Of Understanding to deliver the GRIPA in ways that strengthens the participation of Girringun Traditional Owners in looking after their country and provides pathways that support their livelihoods,” Mr Maclean said.
Girringun and its Traditional Owner member groups have prepared a Management Plan that describes their ancestral lands, waters and seas and which guides how they will look after and protect their region’s natural and cultural heritage.
The Plan also defines how their many GRIPA partners with legal management arrangements will work with Girringun Traditional Owners for the regionally strategic and collaborative management of their country.
Indigenous Protected Areas deliver more than environmental benefits. Managing Indigenous Protected Areas helps Indigenous communities to protect their significant bio-cultural values for future generations and receive spin-off health, education, economic and social benefits.
Their active, meaningful and sustained participation at regional and local levels is fundamental to the long term health of bio-cultural diversity and will contribute significantly to improving livelihoods.
“A healthy World Heritage Area needs vigorous community engagement and Rainforest Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners are paramount to that future,” Mr Maclean added.
The collaborative management of National, State Marine and Conservation Parks and Indigenous and non-Indigenous privately owned lands will be founded under the GRIPA with the Traditional Owners firmly as equal and leading partners.
The IPA was facilitated with the collaboration of the Australian and Queensland Government agencies, NRM organisations, Local Councils, private landholders, Native Title Bodies Corporate and incorporated community organisations as well as the Traditional Owners.
The GRIPA program is sponsored by the Australian Government’s Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities.
Learn more about Rainforest Aboriginal management