A new national park and nature reserve have been created in the remote Goldfields, adding more than 800,000 hectares to Western Australia's conservation estate – an area bigger than the size of Bali.
The creation of the Matuwa Kurrara Kurrara National Park and the Lake Carnegie nature reserve is a significant step in the McGowan Government's Plan for Our Parks initiative.
The reserves protect Martu Aboriginal cultural heritage values and the area's unique biodiversity.
The Tarlka Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation will jointly manage Matuwa Kurrara Kurrara National Park and nature reserve at Lake Carnegie with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
An Indigenous Land Use Agreement was signed in October 2022. This is the largest exclusive possession native title agreement in Australia and the largest for the creation of a new jointly managed and jointly vested conservation estate ever reached in WA.
It paves the way for greater on Country employment for Traditional Owners as well as the chance to engage with the State Government and private sector to pursue tourism and other economic development opportunities.
The Matuwa Kurrara Kurrara National Park was formerly two pastoral leases purchased by the State Government more than 20 years ago. It is also a dedicated Indigenous Protected Area with more than 480 plant species as well as the centre of one of Australia's biggest threatened animal translocation projects.
Lake Carnegie is listed on the Commonwealth Directory of Important Wetlands and is also culturally significant to Martu Aboriginal people. It's believed to be home to the elusive and critically endangered Night parrot.
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Reece Whitby:
"I'm proud to celebrate this important milestone on Country with Martu Traditional Owners.
"Our Government is committed to protecting these special areas and we look forward to working with the Tarlka Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation to safeguard cultural heritage and biodiversity.
"These reserves contribute 16 per cent to the overall Plan for Our Parks target of five million hectares. It's great to see the positive impact the initiative is having in protecting our State's vast and unique landscapes."
Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Dr Tony Buti:
"I congratulate the Martu Traditional Owners on their commitment in creating Matuwa Kurrara Kurrara National Park and the Lake Carnegie nature reserve.
"We are entering a new chapter in joint management where Martu law and culture have been practised and stories told through the generations.
"Plan for Our Parks ensures areas like these will be conserved for years to come through strong partnerships with Traditional Owners, while creating job opportunities."
Comments attributed to Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Peter Foster:
"It's fantastic to celebrate this significant step on Country with the Martu people.
"It's great to acknowledge this area, which is rich in cultural history and this joint management will make sure the land is protected now and into the future."
Comments attributed to the Tarlka Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation:
"We are very pleased for Martu people to be working with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions in joint management for the protection of Country and the preservation of Martu culture for generations to come.
"Healthy partnerships will help balance Martu and Western knowledge of land management. This will ensure all levels of management and implementations are economically and environmentally sustainable."