The federal government is to give a grant of $838,000 over the next five years to support two Indigenous Protected Areas near Glen Innes.
New England MP, Barnaby Joyce, said it the money would “support the Glen Innes community in protecting biodiversity and cultural heritage through Indigenous Protected Areas.
He said: “Indigenous Protected Areas put land and sea country management into the hands of Traditional Owners, providing environmental, employment and social benefits.”
It was a continuation of previous funding, said mr Joyce and was part of the coalition governments efforts in 76 areas across the state. He said that the “spiritual importance which the land holds” was clear.
“So it’s fitting that we announce The Willows and Boorabee Indigenous Protected Areas, under the care of Glen Innes Local Aboriginal Land Council, as among those in the New England to receive a funding extension as Indigenous Protected Areas.
“This is not just culture of Aboriginal people, it is the cultural heritage of Australia and we want to make sure it remains a vital part of who we all are.”
The two areas are similar to national parks but run by Aboriginal rangers.
The acting chief executive of the Glen Innes Local Aboriginal Land Council, Jaydyn Potter, said the grant kept the Indigenous Protected Areas going: “It means the continuation of a strong programme which preserves the environment and continuing jobs and is a strong source of culture for our people”.
Boorabee and The Willows cover 2900 hectares and are home to some of the country’s rarest and most most endangered species. They also have deep spiritual significance for the traditional owners the Ngoorabul people..
The land council purchased The Willows in 1987 after a successful application to the NSW Aboriginal land Council, and later the Indigenous Land Corporation helped the Boorabee Aboriginal Corporation purchase three adjoining propertie. This group of properties was declared an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) in March 2010, making it a protected area for nature.