The Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy aims to employ and involve local Aboriginal people and maintain the Kimberley’s rich culture.

Aboriginal people have inhabited the Kimberley region for at least 50,000 years and for up to 60,000 years, and with other Indigenous Australians have the oldest continuing cultures in human history. The region has a rich diverse and living Aboriginal culture, encompassing 22 Aboriginal language groups.

Traditional owners maintain a relationship to land in accordance with traditional laws and customs. Immense traditional ecological knowledge has been handed down from generation to generation and this can be used in conjunction with modern science to inform land management practices and decisions.

Joint management

The first joint management plan for a marine park created under the State Government’s Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy was released on 7 November 2013, with the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation signing a joint management agreement to manage the park.

The plan for the Lalang-garram / Camden Sound Marine Park outlines a range of strategies to conserve the values of the area, including the biggest humpback whale calving ground in the southern hemisphere.

Looking after country together

A number of land management initiatives and training programs are underway on Aboriginal lands and claim areas across the Kimberley in partnership with Aboriginal communities and ranger groups. They involve managing fire, control of feral animals such as pigs and donkeys, control of weeds and other partnerships including tourism initiatives.

Changes to legislation

A key objective of the Kimberley Strategy is to promote joint management and recognition of Aboriginal customary activities. The State Government has therefore made significant changes to legislation relating to the involvement of Aboriginal people on land and water managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife.