Indigenous Protected Areas Program
Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) are areas of land and sea managed by Indigenous groups as protected areas for biodiversity conservation through voluntary agreements with the Australian Government.
IPAs are an essential component of Australia’s National Reserve System, which is the network of formally recognised parks, reserves and protected areas across Australia. There are currently 76 dedicated IPAs across approximately 67 million hectares. These account for more than 44 per cent of the National Reserve System.
IPAs deliver more than environmental benefits. Managing IPAs helps Indigenous communities protect the cultural values of their country for future generations and results in significant health, education, economic and social benefits.
IPAs create jobs for Indigenous men and women - working and looking after their land. IPA rangers’ employment helps provide financial stability in the community and they are a positive role model for youth. Day-to-day activities of Indigenous rangers on IPAs may include interpretive activities for visitors, protection of rock art, and cultural history and language projects. Traditional bush tucker and medicine knowledge is taught on country to younger generations.
The Indigenous Protected Areas program is administered by the National Indigenous Australians Agency in partnership with the Department.
In 2017, the Australian Government committed $15 million under the New Indigenous Protected Areas Program, to assist Indigenous groups to undertake consultation and planning for the establishment of new IPAs. To date, 12 IPA consultation projects have been approved under the New IPA Program.