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Joint management of Cape York Peninsula national parks

A new move… Joint management of Cape York Peninsula national parks

On 2 November 2007 a new move towards joint management of national parks on Cape York Peninsula took effect through the proclamation of the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act 2007 (the Act).

Under the Act, amendments to the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) allow for the creation of a new class of protected area called "national park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal land)" (national park [CYPAL]). This new class allows for existing and proposed national parks to become Aboriginal land and also be dedicated and managed as a national park (CYPAL). More importantly it allows for joint management of national park land by Traditional Owners (represented by a land trust) and the department.

Traditional Owners will be the owners of the land through the grant of an Aboriginal freehold title, provided the area will always be managed as a national park (CYPAL) under the NCA.

What lands can become national park (CYPAL)?

Existing national parks, Aboriginal land and unallocated State land in the Cape York Peninsula region can all become national park (CYPAL). The Cape York Peninsula Region covers mainland and offshore areas including islands. Some areas are excluded as they are being dealt with under a separate process; these include Daintree, Cedar Bay and Black Mountain national parks.

How will a national park (CYPAL) be jointly managed?

Joint management arrangements for a national park (CYPAL) will be established through the development of an Indigenous Management Agreement (IMA) and a park management statement or management plan.

The IMA will provide the framework for the ongoing relationship between the department and the land trust for the management of the national park (CYPAL). The IMA sets the responsibilities of the State and the land trust in managing the national park (CYPAL). The department and relevant land trusts will also work together to develop management statements or management plans for each national park (CYPAL). The management statement or management plan under the NCA will be more specific in outlining resource and visitor management requirements.

To what extent will Traditional Owners be involved in management?

Park management responsibilities will be negotiated between the department and the Traditional Owners (represented by a land trust) but will vary from park to park.

As joint managers of the land, Traditional Owners will be involved in all levels of park management. Traditional Owners and the department will work together to develop resource and visitor management policies, and operational procedures for the day-to-day management of the parks including pest animal and pest plant control, fire management, permits, presentation and facilities.

As joint managers of the land, Traditional Owners may also economically benefit from contract work, commercial tourism and Indigenous ranger employment.

Will committees be established to oversee the management of national parks (CYPAL)?

Regional and sub-regional committees comprised of representatives of Indigenous people, including representatives from the land trusts, will be established to continue the co-operative relationship between the department and Traditional Owners.

Sub-regional committee membership will be drawn from Indigenous people that have an interest in the area for which the committee is established and will allow Traditional Owners to speak on national park management issues. Sub-regional committees may represent an individual national park or groups of national parks in the Cape York Region.

A Regional Protected Area Management Committee (RPAMC) will be established with representation from sub-regional committees or Indigenous regional organisations in the Cape York Peninsula Region, as well as the department.

The role of the RPAMC will be to advise the Federal Minister for Environment about matters relating to the protected area estate in Cape York Peninsula including:

  • park management plans
  • employment opportunities to increase Indigenous representation in the national park workforce
  • provision of resources for management of the protected areas.

More information

Last updated
11 November 2013