Nari Nari Tribal Council secures permanent protection of Murrumbidgee conservation site Gayini Nimmie Caira

Nari Nari Tribal Council will lead critical habitat management on the largest privately-held land area in NSW to be permanently protected under a funded Conservation Agreement delivered through a significant co-investment partnership between it, the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust and The Nature Conservancy.

Nari Nari Tribal Council this week signed a Conservation Agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust to fund cultural land management practices and conservation efforts across the 55,220-hectare Gayini Nimmie Caira Conservation Area, located between Hay and Balranald in southwest NSW.

The agreement embeds the role of Traditional Custodians in managing land for current and future generations and is the largest private land holding to be funded, in perpetuity, by the NSW Government.

Nari Nari Tribal Council chairperson Jamie Woods said Gayini Nimmie Caira was a rich cultural landscape, supporting Aboriginal people over tens of thousands of years.

“Nari Nari Tribal Council is proud to be leading the way in cultural land management, with the announcement of this groundbreaking agreement,” Mr Woods said. 

“We have invested considerable time, knowledge and effort to create a unique agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, putting the protection of Culture and Country at the centre of the work we do,” he said.

Mr Woods said there are footprints across Gayini Nimmie Caira where Aboriginal people used targeted interventions to promote the productivity of the land, supporting fish, bird and vegetation growth. 

He said those cultural land management practices would continue with annual funding of about $1 million from the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, and additional investment and resources from The Nature Conservancy and his organisation.

NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust Board chair Niall Blair acknowledged the ancient practices of Traditional Custodians in managing land across NSW, and their knowledge of local habitat and landscapes.

“Nari Nari Tribal Council has the long-held practices and knowledge to manage and restore Gayini Nimmie Caira Conservation Area and its boom-bust cycles of wet and dry to support threatened and endangered birds, frogs, vegetation and habitat,” Mr Blair said.

The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Conservation and Science Dr James Fitzsimons said Gayini Nimmie Caira represented one of the most fertile and ecologically significant parts of Australia, and that this agreement was a “significant milestone for wetland conservation in Australia”.

“This partnership has created a sustainably-managed and financed conservation property for the benefit of its Traditional Custodians, nature and the broader community,” Dr Fitzsimons said.

Mr Blair said the Conservation agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust formalised and recognised cultural land management practices that protected Culture and Country.

“The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust will play a critical role in protecting the state’s biodiversity through annual payments, in perpetuity, to Nari Nari Tribal Council to manage Gayini Nimmie Caira for conservation and cultural outcomes,” Mr Blair said.

“This agreement with Nari Nari Tribal Council can be considered the gold standard in protecting and restoring biodiversity through caring for Country in NSW,” he said.