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National park status for famous Horizontal Falls

Posted On January 28, 2013

Hon Colin Barnett MEc MLA

Hon Bill Marmion BE MBA MLA


  • New 160km2 national and 3,000km2 marine parks to be created
  • Both parks to provide highest possible protection
  • Natural and cultural values protected forever
  • Parks to be jointly managed with the traditional owners, Dambimangari

The Liberal National Government will establish new Class A marine and national parks encompassing the world-renowned Horizontal Falls at Talbot Bay in the Kimberley.

The national park and the marine park will provide the highest level of protection to the immense natural and cultural values of the area and the stunning coastal scenery.

“The extraordinary Horizontal Falls are an internationally renowned tourist attraction and it is imperative we maintain the pristine environment that surrounds them,” Premier Colin Barnett 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, which affords them the highest possible protection.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion said the marine park would cover nearly 3,000 square kilometres to the south of Camden Sound, including Talbot, Collier and Doubtful bays and Walcott Inlet. The marine park would protect unique coral reefs, dolphins and extensive mangrove systems.

The boundaries are indicative at this stage and final borders would be determined after extensive 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,” Mr Marmion said.

“Existing pearling leases will remain and the creation of the marine park will help ensure continued high water quality for pearling.”

The Horizontal Falls Marine Park will make the Great Kimberley Marine Park even greater, expanding it to 26,000 square kilometres, stretching from the Horizontal Falls to Cape Londonderry.

“This is one of the most significant conservation initiatives in Western Australian history. Never before has a State Government made such an investment in the conservation of the Kimberley region,” the Premier said.

Mr Barnett said the parks would be jointly managed with the traditional owners, Dambimangari, recognising their ongoing desire to look after their land and sea country and providing increased employment and training opportunities, including on-country park ranger programs.

“The State Government recognises the native title rights of the Dambimangari traditional owners and will work closely with them in establishing and managing the parks. Indigenous land use and joint management agreements will be negotiated and draft management plans for both areas will be released for public comment,” he said.

Fact File

  • New marine park will not include Koolan and Cockatoo islands as these already have existing mines
  • New marine park brings to five the number of marine parks to be created within State Govt’s Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy
  • New national park builds on commitments to undertake landscape-scale management of fire, feral animals and weeds and increase training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal communities
  • Liberal National Govt has already created majority of Camden Sound Marine Park to help protect one of the great humpback whale calving grounds and nurseries


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