By Paul Hemsley
Western Australian Minister for Environment, Bill Marmion has announced the creation of the state’s 100th National Park in a landmark agreement with Indigenous landowners to protect ancient Aboriginal rock art.
The state government’s establishment of the Murajuga National Park is expected to protect 44 per cent (or about 5,000 hectares) of the north eastern part of the Burrup Peninsula, which is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
It is the third national park to be created by the present state government including Dirk Harthog Island and Prince Regent River National Parks.
The WA government says it has allocated more than $24 million for capital works including parking, walking trails and visitor information for more than 25 million hectares of National Parks, Marine Parks, State Forests, Conservations Reserves and Regional Parks.
Under the agreement to create Murajuga National Park, the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) will lease the land back to the state.
It follows the transfer of ownership to the MAC in a native land title agreement that was reached in January 2003.
Through the agreement, the state will manage the land as a National Park to be formally protected under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984.
The WA Department of Indigenous Affairs will guide the management operations for the park for the next 10 years.
Mr Marmion said the arrangement been achieved through extensive consultation and resulted in an “innovative” joint management agreement between MAC and the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).
According to the WA government, it is the first joint management agreement to be reached under the amendments made to the Conservation and Land Management Act in March 2012.
“The new Murujuga National Park will provide for the protection of the area’s nationally important conservation and cultural values and is an excellent example of a partnership that balances the protection of ancient and living heritage with sustainable use of the region’s natural resources,” Mr Marmion said.
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