Up to $12.5M is available from the New IPA Program Competitive Grant to support projects that will protect and conserve Australia’s biodiversity.


New IPA Program: Competitive Grant Round Process

The New IPA Program Competitive Grant Round Process aims to:

  • Protect and conserve Australia’s biodiversity.
  • Assist Indigenous Australians to deliver sustainable environmental, cultural, social and economic outcomes through effective and sustainable management of their land and sea.
  • Build the extent and condition of Australia’s NRS.



Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) are areas of Land or Land and Sea managed by Indigenous people for biodiversity conservation. IPAs provide significant cultural, social and economic benefits. They provide employment for Indigenous land and sea managers, and facilitate intergenerational knowledge transfer, the maintenance and reinvigoration of language and culture, and support Indigenous rangers as role models engaging with youth in their communities.

There are currently 75 dedicated IPAs across approximately 67 million hectares of Australia. These IPAs are recognised by the Australian Government
as an important part of the National Reserve System (NRS), which is the network of formally recognised parks, reserves and protected areas across Australia. IPAs constitute more than 45 percent of the NRS.


New IPA Program Stages

There are two stages to an IPA under the Program:

  • All IPA projects start with a consultation stage. This stage involves Indigenous led discussion and planning processes amongst the Traditional Owners and others and includes the development of a management plan. The management plan identifies the values of the proposed IPA area and the threats to those values, outlines the management goals, and includes the relevant International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) protected area category or categories for which the area will be managed.  The IPA project moves to the dedication stage following approval of the management plan by Traditional Owners (and endorsement of the plan by the Australian Government) and an informed decision by Traditional Owners to dedicate their Land, or Land and Sea, as an IPA.
  • The dedication stage involves managing the IPA in accordance with the approved management plan. The Australian Government will recognise the dedicated IPA as part of the NRS.

Under the Program, IPAs must include Land that can be added to the NRS upon dedication. Sea country cannot be added to the NRS. Therefore, applications for a Sea country only IPA are ineligible for funding under the Program. Applications for IPAs which include only Land, or which include Land and Sea, may be considered.



The Australian Government has committed a total of $15 million until 30 June 2021 for the Program.

The Program consists of two grant rounds:

  • A Discretionary Grant Round was completed in June 2018, providing five grants totalling $2.485 million. The five Discretionary Grant Round
    projects are currently funded for IPA consultation stage activities only. If a project moves from the consultation stage to the dedication stage prior to 30 June 2021, the project is eligible for an increase in funding.
  • Up to $12.515 million is available for the Competitive Grant Round. Applicants are required to estimate the funding for their IPA project using
    the funding model. The funding model sets out annual amounts for both consultation and dedication stages. Using the model, Applicants can identify the specific attributes of their IPA (e.g. remoteness, complexity) and estimate a funding amount.

Actual funding provided will be determined by taking into account total funding available under the Program. The maximum funding that will be granted to each IPA project per year is $160,000 (GST exclusive) during the consultation stage and $500,000 (GST exclusive) during the dedication stage.

Applicants are also asked to estimate the date for dedication of their new IPA (which is when the IPA project transfers from the consultation stage to the dedication stage).


Eligible Projects

Eligible Activities

Activities during the consultation stage of an IPA project must focus on discussion and planning processes amongst the Traditional Owners and other
stakeholders in order for them to make an informed decision about the dedication of the IPA. A draft management plan should be developed during this stage.

Following dedication, the IPA must be managed in accordance with a management plan endorsed by the Traditional Owners and approved by the Australian Government.

Eligible Expenditures

Eligible expenditure items during the consultation stage of an IPA project are:

  • Coordinators – the cost of an IPA coordinator to manage the work
  • Specialist positions – consideration will be given to the employment of specialist positions on a project by project basis (such as mentor, project
    manager, natural resource management or cultural management advisors)
  • Training – relevant to the work to be undertaken by IPA project staff
  • Technical advice or support – where this is demonstrated as important for the success of the project
  • IPA management plan and sectoral plans – costs associated with the preparation of new management plans or the review of existing management plans. The costs associated with sectoral plans, for example, fire management, pest animal management and weed management plans, preparation of MERI (Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement) Plans and annual operational plans
  • Consultation and meetings – costs related to consultation and meetings to support the project, including the establishment of an IPA Advisory Committee with appropriate community and stakeholder representation
  • A vehicle – consideration will be given to the lease or purchase of a vehicle on a project by project basis
  • Domestic travel – travel costs to support visits to other IPAs and attendance at IPA managers’ meetings and relevant conferences, workshops and training
  • Administration – up to 15 percent of the total project cost may be provided for administrative costs. This will cover costs directly associated with
    administering the project, which generally includes items such as office/workshop rent or leasing, insurance, office supplies, electricity and phone usage. It may also include costs for a bookkeeper or administrative officer, for example. Administrative costs of up to 20 percent will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and approved only in exceptional circumstances
  • Costs associated with holding an event acknowledging the dedication of an IPA. Additional funding of up to $20,000 per project may be pro