Indigenous Protected Areas - IPAs

This program has been assisting Indigenous communities to voluntarily dedicate their land or sea country as Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) since 1997.

Most IPAs are dedicated under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Categories 5 and 6, which promote a balance between conservation and other sustainable uses to deliver social, cultural and economic benefits for local Indigenous communities.

IPAs combine traditional and contemporary knowledge into a framework to leverage partnerships with conservation and commercial organisations and provide employment, education and training opportunities for Indigenous people.

IPA projects are supported through a multi-year funding agreement. Many Indigenous organisations also supplement this funding through fee-for service or other income generating activities, as well as support from private sector and philanthropic organisations.

IPAs are recognised as part of the National Reserve System, protecting the nation’s biodiversity for the benefit of all Australians. 

Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) 2017
Dedicated IPAs 75
Total area 67,312,453 hectares
Percentage of National Reserve System 44.6%


  • 1997 – Indigenous Protected Areas program established

  • Over 500 Indigenous people are employed in full-time, part-time and casual jobs

  • Over 70 Indigenous Protected Areas make up more than 44 per cent of Australia’s National Reserve System, managed for the benefit of all Australians

  • Over 60 per cent of Indigenous Protected Areas are managed by Australian Government funded Indigenous ranger groups

Project locations

Interactive map of summaries of Indigenous land and sea management projects supported by the Australian Government.

Indigenous Rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas map - PDF 4 MB

Latest News


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images and voices of deceased people.