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Milestone protection for WA landmark

AAP logoAAP 23/11/2016 Rebecca Gredley

The joint management of Western Australia's Horizontal Falls by traditional owners and the state government is being hailed by conservation groups as a milestone.

The Lalang-garram Horizontal Falls and North Lalang-garram marine parks, which together cover more than 460,000 hectares, were announced by the government and the Dambimangari traditional owners on Wednesday.

Environmental groups welcomed the decision, which protect the falls Sir David Attenborough described as "one of the greatest natural wonders in the world", particularly as they were threatened with a copper mine in 2012.

Kimberley campaign manager for Pew Charitable Trusts Tim Nicol said indigenous rangers would use traditional knowledge and modern science to protect the area.

"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," he said.

"A choice has been made to make long-term conservation a priority over short term profits for industry."

Five marine parks have been established so far in the Kimberley.

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the government had been working with traditional owners since 2013 to develop the latest two, which opened up employment and economic opportunities for Dambimangari people, and would protect natural assets such as coral reefs and marine species including dugongs and turtles.

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