ABC Rural: Indigenous Protected Area status granted to the Kiwirrkurra community in the remote Central Desert

Published: 12 Sep 2014

From ABC Rural, Lucie Bell, Updated 12 Sep 2014.

More than four million hectares of land in remote Western Australia has been declared as the country's 61st Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) this week.

The agreement, between the Kiwirrkurra community in the Gibson Desert and the Federal Government, will provide funding for the ongoing care of country, using both traditional and modern methods.

Kate Crossing works with the community and Central Desert Native Title Services.

She says traditional owners plan to establish a new ranger group, among other initiatives.

"The funding will go towards all the ideas they have for the future: looking after country, doing burning, looking after threatened species, getting rid of weeds and feral animals, tourism projects," she said.

"They also want to have Kiwirrkurra people working on country as rangers, building their skills and having elders and young people working together to get out to more distant country.

"Funding will also help to bring in outside experts, like scientists, to provide advice and build that two-way knowledge."

Ms Crossing says a group from the community will be going out on country today to commence a threatened species survey.

"It's desert country with lots of sand hills covered in Spinifex, there's Lake Mackay, a great big salt lake, and areas with desert oaks and red sands," she said.

"It's really good country for bush tucker, plants and animals and we'll be looking for bilbies, or ninu as they call them here, giant desert skinks and mulgarra."

The Federal Government will provide more than $1.5 million to Central Desert Native Title Services over five years to work with the Tjamu Tjamu Aboriginal Corporation.

The Kiwirrkurra IPA also continues a corridor of IPAs which have been granted across the central desert regions of Australia.

The document was signed at a culturally significant waterhole on Wednesday and Ms Crossing says it was a colourful event.

"People were really happy, lots of people took hold of the microphone and gave speeches about how they felt.

"They talked about the history of working towards this day and all the ideas they have for the future and the women finished off the ceremony with some traditional dance, to bring it back to culture and law."