Decision keeps Kings Canyon clear of mining

The traditional owners of Watarrka, or Kings Canyon National Park, in the Northern Territory have welcomed the news that their country is now officially off limits for mining and fracking.

The Northern Territory Government has declared a mineral and petroleum reserve over the park.

Central Land Council director David Ross said the CLC told the NT Government 15 years ago that traditional owners were opposed to mining on their land.

“It just goes to show what can be achieved with a persistent, patient and united campaign,” he said.

Five years ago the traditional owners of the Watarrka Park Land Trust were notified of a proposed grant of two exploration permit applications over the park.

They unanimously opposed the applications and sought to protect the park from any future mining or oil and gas activities.

The park continues to be subject to an application for protection under the federal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act and is being assessed for National Heritage Listing.

The Northern Territory Government said in a statement it had declared a Reserved Land Area (Minerals) and Reserved Block Area (Petroleum) over Watarrka National Park.

This decision was made after extensive consultation with the Department of Tourism and Culture, the Central Land Council and the Watarrka National Park Joint Management Committee, and the decision recognises the ecological, tourism and cultural values of the area, it said.

The decision was gazetted in May and provides legislative protection for Watarrka National Park from all forms of mining and oil and gas exploration and development.

The same approach was applied to Nitmiluk National Park last year.


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