A macadamia orchard at Brookfarm near Byron Bay, northern NSW, April, 2017. Macadamias are the only Australian native plant that has been developed as a major food crop. (AAP Image/Jenny Tabakoff) NO ARCHIVING

Gaagal Wanggaan National Park on the NSW mid-north coast is expanding with the purchase of a nearby property that has significant cultural importance to Aboriginal people.

Minister for Environment James Griffin said the addition of the 212 hectare Bald Hill site builds upon the 600,000 hectares that the NSW Government has secured for addition to the national park estate since 2019.

“The expansion of Aboriginal-owned Gaagal Wanggaan National Park is another step towards conserving important Aboriginal cultural sites, and providing more protection for biodiversity in NSW,” Mr Griffin said.

“The Bald Hill site is home to many threatened plant and animal species, including the endangered Floyd’s grass and black grass-dart butterfly, which are only found on the NSW mid-north coast.”

Gaagal Wanggaan National Park is jointly managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and traditional owners through the Gaagal Wanggan Board.

The area is part of a rich cultural and ceremonial landscape that includes a tribal ceremonial ground, a men’s ceremonial site and riverine middens. Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said the Gaagal Wanggan Board acquired the land to add to the national park on behalf of the Gumbaynggirr people.

“This addition to the national park adds 212 hectares of land to further protect the extraordinary natural and cultural resources of the area,” Ms Pavey said.

Gaagal Wanggaan Board Chair Raylene Ballangarry said the Bald Hill property was part of a strategy to acquire culturally significant and environmentally valuable lands to enhance protection of Gumbaynggirr cultural landscapes.

“The purchase of Bald Hill is a great achievement for the Board, a wonderful addition to the national parks estate, and most significantly, a return of Aboriginal land to Gumbaynggirr people,” Ms Ballangarry said.

“On behalf of the Board I would like to thank the Ainsworth family for their patience while these negotiations have been in place.”

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