QLD: Eight Aboriginal tribes in far north Queensland have been tasked with helping to protect more than a million hectares of land.
Parts of the Girringun Region, between Cairns and Townsville and inland to Greenvale, became an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) on Saturday.
This includes parts of the Wet Tropics as well as coastal areas of the Great Barrier Reef.
Girringun Aboriginal Corporation boss Phil Rist said this allows traditional owners to help other environmental and government groups look after the area.
Day to day management includes weed and feral animal control, fire management, revegetation, wildlife protection and monitoring.
It also means traditional owners can reconnect with the land.
“It will increase the presence of traditional owners and it will recognise them and their traditional responsibilities to that country,” Mr Rist told AAP.
He says for thousands of years Aboriginal people have been hunting, fishing and conducting ceremonies in the area.
In recent years they were forcibly removed from the region and stopped from returning, he says.
The IPA will mean traditional owners can return to the land and younger generations can learn more about their culture.
“We’ll be taking back old people, we’ll be taking back young people to those places as they’ve hardly had the opportunity to go to the land,” Mr Rist said.
A ninth tribe is expected to be included in the IPA later this year.
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