A NSW Government website

Indigenous Protected Areas

An Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is an area of land or sea owned by the local Aboriginal peoples.

Traditional owners enter an agreement with the Australian Government to manage and conserve biodiversity and cultural resources.


Cave displaying Indigenous hand prints

Indigenous Protected Areas make up almost 44% of Australia’s National Reserve System.

Managing IPAs helps First Nations communities to protect their significant cultural values for future generations while generating health, education, economic and social benefits.


Aboriginal rangers in the Australian landscape

Koalas are a major focus of IPA conservation in New South Wales. Many have dedicated ranger groups supporting a wide range of biodiversity.

IPAs in New South Wales include Brewarrina Ngemba Billabong Indigenous Protected AreaBoorabee and The Willows Indigenous Protected AreaGumma Indigenous Protected Area and the Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area.

The goals of the IPA program are to:

  • support Aboriginal land owners to develop, declare and manage IPAs on their lands as part of Australia’s National Reserve System
  • support Aboriginal interests to develop cooperative management arrangements with Government agencies managing protected areas
  • support the integration of Aboriginal ecological and cultural knowledge with contemporary protected area management practices.


Cave displaying Indigenous hand prints


Aboriginal content on these pages has been compiled and reviewed by the Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council and Flying Fish Blue.
The term ‘First Nations’ recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the sovereign people of this land. It recognises various language groups as separate and unique sovereign nations.