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Witjira Joint Management Arrangement

Sub Category:Joint Management Agreement
State/Country:South Australia, Australia
Subject Matter: | Cultural Heritage | Employment and Training | Environmental Heritage | Land Management | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests
Summary Information:
The Witjira National Park Joint Management Arrangement was made between the Irrwanyere Aboriginal Corporation and the Department for Environment and Heritage (South Australia). Under the arrangement, a 99-year lease was granted to the Irrwanyere Aboriginal Corporation and the traditional owners were established as the primary managers of the land with freedom to exercise their traditional associations with the land, including hunting and gathering.
Detailed Information:
Under the arrangement the Irrwanyere Aboriginal Corporation will jointly manage the Witjira National Park with the Department for Environment and Heritage subject to the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (SA), the Plan of Management and the provisions of the lease.
The Plan of Management for Witjira was jointly devised by National Parks and Wildlife South Australia and the Irrwanyere Aboriginal Corporation in accordance with fundamental principles accepted by both parties. The primary management objectives expressed in the plan are to:
  • conserve the natural landscapes, ecosystems, habitats and wildlife of the Park;
  • preserve features of historic or scientific interest;
  • provide opportunities for people to appreciate the Park's natural and cultural values through recreational and educational use of the Park;
  • encourage the maintenance of Aboriginal tradition by facilitating the management of areas, sites and matters of Aboriginal significance by the Aboriginal joint managers, in accordance with Board of Management provisions; and
  • maximise the use of skills and knowledge of the Aboriginal joint managers in the management of the park and provide for them to benefit from the Park and its management.
    The Plan of Management also provides for the continuation of customary activities and establishes a framework for management of Aboriginal subsistence use and cooperative research and monitoring. It allows for traditional methods of hunting and gathering and is the first park in South Australia where provision is made for permanent living areas for Aboriginal people. The living areas include provision for gardens for domestic use and keeping stock, and horses or camels for transport and the sustainable use of wood supplies. The lease also provides for Irrwanyere to develop commercial enterprises in the Park.

    The Board is identified in the management plan as being the main instrument for policy development and decision-making. It is made up of seven members, four of which are Aboriginal members nominated by Irrwanyere, one of whom is the Chairperson. The remaining three members are the Department of Environment and Heritage Regional Parks and Wildlife Manager, a person nominated by the South Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and a person with expertise and experience in conservation issues.

    The Board's functions, under the provisions of the management plan, are to:
  • implement the plan and make decisions, consistent with the plan, in relation to the Park;
  • ensure that all licences, franchises, leases and other authorised activities are operated in accordance with the management objectives and procedures described in the plan;
  • provide advice to the Minister on applications made in respect of mining activities in the Park subject to the proclamation providing for such activities to take place;
  • advise the Minister on all aspects of the management and development of the Park; and
  • prepare amendments to the plan, or a new plan, as necessary for consideration and adoption by the Minister.
    A key objective of the joint management arrangement is for the Board to oversee a gradual shift from the current situation where the Department for Environment and Heritage is responsible for day to day management, to a situation where Irrwanyere is undertaking that work.

  • Related Entries

  • Witjira National Park Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)
  • Eringa, Eringa No 2, Wangkangurru/Yarluyandi and Irrwanyere Mt Dare Native Title Claim Groups v The State of South Australia [2008] FCA 1370
  • Organisation
  • Irrwanyere Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC
  • Department of Environment and Heritage (SA)
  • State of South Australia
  • Legislation
  • National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (SA)
  • Place
  • Witjira National Park

  • References

    South Australian Consolidated Acts (1972) National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (SA)


    Joint Management Agreement

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