KLC Media Release – July 15, 2010
Saltwater Traditional Owners today released a 10-year plan to protect, enhance and restore their vibrant country in the North Kimberley.
The North Kimberley Saltwater Country Plan is the culmination of three years work and sets out a future plan to look after the country stretching from the Lacepede Islands to Wyndham and covers Mayala, Dambimangari, Uunguu and Balangarra native title areas.
Traditional Owners from all native title areas worked together to create this plan which outlines ways to protect and look after country while highlighting ways in which Government and non-Government agencies can assist.
The North Kimberley Saltwater Country Plan is designed to look after natural and coastal assests through:
BOOSTING the number of Indigenous ranger groups that are trained to protect and look after country through using a combination of traditional ecological knowledge and western scfientific methods;
INTRODUCING Indigenous Protected Areas or ‘Aboriginal National Parks’ to ensure Traditonal Owners are involved in and manage ways to look after country; and
MANAGING increased tourism to the region through introducing a permit system and visitor passes for people wanting to visit the North Kimberley.
Traditional Owner Donny Woolagoodja, who has been one of the key people driving the plan, said it highlighted the strong, culutral connection the saltwater people have to their country.
“We are the saltwater people and we want to show with this plan how important our country, waterways, culture, art and bushplants are,’’ he said.
“It means a lot to us to put together this document. We put a lot of energy into putting this plan together and making it happen, so Government people know how importnat it is and so Government people recognise us as Traditional Owners of the land and sea.’’
“With this plan we can continue to look after and care for our country so that it can be enjoyed by everyone for generations to come.’’
KLC Deputy Director Nolan Hunter said the North Kimberley Saltwater Country Plan was an example of what could be achieved when everyone worked together.
“Aboriginal people have being looking after country for thousands of years and as Australia’s first conservationists we are the best placed people to do this,’’ he said.
“The Saltwater people have taken the lead from their old people and have set high standards in how to look after and protect country, through introducing this plan.’’
“This plan similtaneously provides ways and means to look after country while providing job opportunities and economic benefits for our people. It is about looking after country while providing a bright future for the generations to come.’’