The Morrison Government has announced $9.7 million in grants to protect and expand Sea Country Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) across Australia, from the coastal wetlands of south-west Victoria to Arnhem Land’s rich seagrass meadows, coral reefs and mangrove forests.

The 10 new projects target over 6.2 million hectares of sea and 200,000 hectares of coastal land across pristine beaches, islands, wetlands and lagoons supporting an array of species including turtles, whales, dolphins, dugongs and birds.

Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, said these Indigenous-led projects will fund pest plant and animal management, fire management, marine and coastal clean-ups, marine health monitoring, threatened species research and protection, and development of management plans, to help protect Australia’s unique marine and coastal biodiversity.

“The projects assist Indigenous communities to care for land and sea and protect the cultural values of their Country. It will provide opportunities for greater collaboration between Indigenous Australians and other stakeholders with rights and interests in Australia’s marine environment,” Minister Ley said.

“Areas to be supported include the Gulf of Carpentaria’s tapestry of coastal mangroves, seagrass and saltmarsh, marine turtle nesting areas south of Broome, one of the world’s most important seabird breeding sites off Geraldton, and the Ramsar-listed Gippsland Lakes.

“These initiatives will also drive forward planning and consultation as part of the Morrison Government’s commitment to create new Sea Country IPAs through our Oceans Leadership Package.”

Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt AM, said the grants will provide many health, education, economic and social benefits for Indigenous communities, Indigenous women and youth.

“The projects will create more than 35 jobs for Indigenous Australians, assist with Indigenous cultural site management, and promote intergenerational transfer of Indigenous knowledge to younger generations,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The range of projects being funded recognises the importance of Indigenous knowledge in protecting our coastal environment.”

Only the Morrison Government has a plan to continue delivering a strong economy and a stronger future for Australians.

Further information and full list of grant recipients link here.