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Indigenous groups and country to benefit from A$21 million 10 Deserts Project

An exciting new Indigenous land management collaboration across Australia’s desert country has been launched today at Old Parliament House in Canberra.

The 10 Deserts Project led by Desert Support Services (DSS) and enabled by the BHP Billiton Foundation aims to build the capacity of Indigenous groups to look after country for a range of economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes.

“The 10 Deserts region is vast, spanning 2.7 million square kilometres, or one-third of Australia,” Mr Peter See, DSS spokesperson said. “Indigenous land management will be supported at a local and regional level, complemented by a representative structure for Indigenous land managers designed to be effective into the future.”

“The desert landscape’s unique natural and cultural values are under threat from reduced capacity of the Indigenous owners that live there, declining water availability and quality, vast destructive wildfires, invading noxious weeds and feral animals. These threats will be further exacerbated by climate change.

“This project is designed to build environmental resilience across the desert and sustain the largest Indigenous-led connected conservation network on Earth and it will bring training and employment opportunities, reinstatement of cultural authority and help secure long-term funding and revenue streams.”

Margaret Rose, Senior Cultural Advisor, Nyangumarta Warrarn IPA and ranger team:

“This project is about all desert groups working together and not letting all the borders that have been put up between our various lands stop us looking after country and learning from each other."

Ms Karen Wood, Chairman, BHP Billiton Foundation, said the 10 Deserts Project demonstrates the Foundation’s approach to working with international institutions, governments, civil society and business.

“With continued support, the 10 Deserts Project will take collaboration and outcomes to a whole new level,” Ms Wood said.  “I look forward to seeing the Project support and empower the Aboriginal Traditional Owners who live in this remarkable landscape and look after this country."

The partner organisations that DSS will work with during the life of the project are: Alinytjara Wilurara NRM Board, Central Land Council (CLC), Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ), Kimberley Land Council (KLC), Nyangumarta Warrarn Aboriginal Corporation, Indigenous Desert Alliance (IDA), The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Nature Conservancy and Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC).

Learn more about the BHP Billiton Foundation and the 10 Deserts Project.