Conservation groups today congratulated the State Government and Dambimangari Traditional Owners in the Kimberley for the creation of the new Lalang-garram Horizontal Falls Marine Park.
The WA Government and the Dambimangari Traditional Owners have today signed up to create and jointly manage the new Lalang-garram Horizontal Falls Marine Park over 3,526km2 of ocean around one of the Kimberley’s most iconic landmarks.
The Park represents a rejection of mining in this iconic area and the beginning of a future centred on tourism and conservation for one of the world’s great natural wonders.
In 2012, the Horizontal Falls were threatened with a copper mine. This proposal has now been rejected in favour of a marine park, and now today’s decision will ensure tourism and conservation management with Traditional Owners is the future for this unique natural wonder of the world.
“Today is a day to celebrate the protection of one of WA’s most iconic places, named by Sir David Attenborough as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world’”, said Piers Verstegen, Director of the Conservation Council of WA.
“The creation of the Lalang-garram Horizontal Falls Marine Park is a significant step towards realising a bold vision for conservation in the Kimberley, in partnership with the Traditional Owners who have been custodians of this country for thousands of years.”
“Protecting the Lalang-garram Horizontal Falls Marine Park is a major achievement and one step closer to the vision of a Great Kimberley Marine Park for the Kimberley Coast, a great legacy for future generations,” said Tim Nicol, Kimberley Campaign Manager for Pew Charitable Trusts.
The campaign to protect Horizontal Falls in a new marine park has attracted unprecedented public support, with a record 19,000 submissions received during the public submission period in support of world class protection.
The marine park has been well designed to include new sanctuary zones over important places, including Turtle Reef, Walcott Inlet, and at the Horizontal Falls themselves. These will help ensure that the Kimberley Coast remains the world’s last pristine tropical coastline.
“New sanctuary zones in the park such as those at Turtle Reef and Walcott Inlet will be some of the biggest and most important marine sanctuaries in Western Australia, protecting key habitats for a range of important species and ensuring the future health of the Kimberley marine environment,” said Mr Nicol.
The new park is a step towards the vision of a Great Kimberley Marine Park to protect the Kimberley Coast. Other sections of the Great Kimberley Marine Park that have already been created are at Camden Sound, Roebuck Bay, and Eighty Mile Beach. The North Kimberley Marine Park is expected next.
- The Lalang-garram Horizontal Falls Marine Park covers 3,526km2, with 24% in sanctuary zones
- The Horizontal Falls were described by Sir David Attenborough as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world’
- The total area of new marine parks created so far in the Kimberley that contribute towards the Great Kimberley Marine Park is 12,939km2, with nearly 21% in sanctuary zones