Monday, 28 January 2013 15:29
The world-renowned Horizontal Falls at Talbot Bay in Western Australia's Kimberley region will be part of a new national park to protect its natural beauty and cultural significance.
WA Premier Colin Barnett said the State Government will establish a 160sq km national park and a 3000sq km marine park in the region to provide the highest level of environmental protection.
"The extraordinary Horizontal Falls are an internationally renowned tourist attraction and it is imperative we maintain the pristine environment that surrounds them," he said.
"The Kimberley was recently recommended by The New York Times as one of the best places on the globe to visit in 2013, which is evidence of its ever-growing international reputation.
"This spectacular and rugged area contains some of the most unique tourism features in the world and the growth in tourism and increased visitation provides an opportunity to further protect the region's social, economic and environmental values."
Both parks will be Class A, giving them the highest possible protection from the State Government.
The marine park will stretch south of Camden Sound including Talbot, Collier and Doubtful bays and Walcott Inlet.
The marine park will protect coral reefs, dolphins and mangrove systems.
Environment Minister Bill Marmion said final borders would be decided after consultation with traditional owners and other stakeholders.
"Like Camden Sound and Ngari Capes marine parks, Horizontal Falls Marine Park will be a multiple use marine park, including providing ongoing opportunities for recreational fishing and tourism," he said.
"Existing pearling leases will remain and the creation of the marine park will help ensure continued high water quality for pearling."
The parks will be jointly managed with the traditional owners, Dambimangari, providing increased employment opportunities including on-country park ranger programs, Mr Barnett said on Monday.
Pew Environment Group's Kimberley Conservation Project director John Carey described the announcement as a "significant win" for the environment.
"Protecting the Kimberley coast and its marine and bird life provides a balance to the rapid spread of mining and other industrial development," he said.
"We have benefited from the mining boom, but it is a practical and logical step to take to also give something back to safeguard our natural heritage."
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