Martu Country in Western Desert, Western Australia © Dave Wells


Indigenous groups and country to benefit from $21M Ten Deserts Project

Media Contacts

  • Tony Jupp
    Associate Director of Communications
    The Nature Conservancy Australia

Ten Deserts Project - launch video.

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

The Ten 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 Ten 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 Ten 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).

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.