Traditional owners on the Ningaloo coast will now manage national and marine parks in the picturesque North West alongside the WA Government as well as 78,000 hectares of newly created conservation areas. The WA Government signed off an Indigenous Land Use Agreement in Coral Bay today for the proposed Ningaloo (Nyinggulu) Coastal Reserves which will be managed with the Nganhurra Thanardi Garrbu Aboriginal Corporation. About 388,000ha of land and sea is covered in the agreement across the new recreational and conservation reserves as well as the existing Cape Range National Park and Ningaloo Marine Park. The new reserve will cover a thin 220km stretch between Janes Bay on the former Ningaloo pastoral lease and down to Red Bluff. Coastal land has been excised from Warroora, Cardabia and Gnaraloo Station leases as part of the proposal. There are also plans to extend Cape Range National Park from Janes Bay north to Winderbandi Point on the old Ningaloo Station. Paul Baron — who is the chairman of the joint management body between NTGAC and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions — said the agreement paved the way for future generations. “We know the most important part is that it creates opportunity for traditional owners to be involved in tourism,” he said. “It gives us a chance to contribute to this sector in a meaningful way with what has so much significance to us and our identity. “We are excited and grateful that this amazing country will be celebrated and appreciated by visitors who will depart with more knowledge of this land than what has previously been available.” NTGAC chairwoman Rachael Cooyou said her people’s self-respect and self-worth would grow following the agreement. “Now after all this time, we have not just the recognition, but also the resources and support to have our own people on the ground,” she said. “We are also able to share with others something that is part of our being and identity. Something we are so proud of, our Country.” Cardabia Station is owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation but in recent years there have been several disputes and legal battles involving Gnaraloo, Warroora and Ningaloo Stations over the management of the coastal land. Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the agreement paved the way for the coastal strip to be showcased to the world but also protected. “This achievement is the culmination of many years of work to conserve and protect the Ningaloo coast, and this government is proud to have worked collaboratively with NTGAC and Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation to deliver this important outcome,” he said. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said the State Government was in negotiations with other native title groups in WA to bring about similar outcomes.