National park funding pushed

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Pilbara conservation groups have praised conservation funding with hopes that it will go into new national parks.

The new Pilbara Conservation strategy was announced earlier this month and is intended to set out a large-scale prioritised approach to environmental management in a “bioregion” which includes the local government area of Parts of East Pilbara, Port Hedland, Ashburthon, Karratha and Meekatharra.

Partnership for the Outback, an organisation aimed at conserving and restoring the Australian outback, said the funding established an excellent launching pad for a commitment to Create Ranger Parks, according to spokeswoman Suzannah Macbeth.

“Creation of ranger parks is a no-brainer. Not only would the declaration of new national parks not cost the State a cent, but it would address the key Pilbara conservation priority that was identified by the Government’s own environmental watchdog in 2014 — the pressing need to protect the former pastoral leases,” she said.

“These properties — which were purchased by Government for conservation 20 years ago — contain some of the jewels of WA’s outback, and currently represent a missed opportunity for tourism, conservation and regional development.”

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The community-driven Create Ranger Parks plan proposes pastoral lease properties be protected as national parks managed by indigenous rangers. Ms Macbeth said the involvement of traditional owners in the Pilbara Conservation Strategy at a fundamental level was important to the conservation and success of the Australian outback.

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