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Funding boost for protecting Country through new WA national parks

Rhiannon Clarke -

The WA conservation alliance Partnership for the Outback has welcomed $73 million in the 2024-25 Western Australian Budget for the creation of new national parks across the state.

WA Minister for the Environment, Reece Whitby, revealed on Tuesday that the funding will be distributed over the course of the next four years to aid in the establishment and maintenance of national parks, marine parks, and reserves as part of the WA government's Plan for Our Parks program.

The funds will cover the execution of Indigenous Land Use Agreements and management strategies for the proposed Fortescue Marsh Nature Reserve and South Coast Marine Park.

Additionally, $22 million will be provided to facilitate the development of infrastructure for new conservation reserves and the recruitment of 56 full-time Aboriginal ranger positions.

Partnership for the Outback has long campaigned for greater protection of WA's natural environment. Partnership spokesperson, deputy director of The Pew Charitable Trusts Tim Nicol, said the announcement was a win for people and nature in Western Australia.

“We congratulate the Cook Government for today’s announcement and for the ongoing commitment to protect more of WA’s nature,” he said.

“It’s fantastic to see the outcomes that Plan for Our Parks has had across WA, protecting our unique landscapes, species and culture, while creating long-lasting opportunities for Traditional Owners through economic development and Aboriginal ranger positions.

“We’ve seen firsthand the success that comes with creating parks that are jointly-managed with Traditional Owners, not only creating a safe haven for our rare and endangered species, but supporting regional communities through tourism and nature-based activities, a drawcard for people visiting from around the world.”

In 2019, then WA Premier Mark McGowan pledged to establish five million hectares of new national parks, marine parks, and nature reserves within a five-year timeframe. To date, over 2.6 million hectares of parks have been designated throughout WA.

Mr Nicol said he looked forward to seeing more parks roll out across WA under Plan for Our Parks.

“Plan for Our Parks has been the most significant conservation expansion in WA’s history and is leading the way for joint-management in Australia, bringing western science and Traditional knowledge together to help manage the threats that are facing nature in WA,” he said.

“Creating more parks and protected areas across WA is one way to ensure we can achieve the Federal Government’s pledge to protect 30 per cent of Australia’s land and sea by 2030.

“We congratulate Premier Cook and Minister Whitby on their progress so far and look forward to celebrating the protection of more of Western Australia’s special places.”

 

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