When Australian Governments committed to building a National Reserve System (NRS) for Australia in 1991 they didn't anticipate that some of the most important conservation gains were to be made on Indigenous owned land. An innovative Federal Government policy decision in 1996 to support Indigenous landowners to establish Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA# on their land provided a breakthrough in national conservation efforts. This policy and ensuing program was established ensuring that Indigenous communities held full control of decision making, including participation, how much of their land they wished to declare and how best to manage their land. IPAs now constitute more than 35% of Australia's reserve system #some 60 IPAs covering around 48 million hectares; 118.5 million ac). The IPA concept specifically recognizes and values Indigenous knowledge and explicitly combines western science to create a unique and culturally empowering model of conservation and land management. In addition, and most importantly, IPAs provide one of the few pathways for building a sustainable economic future based around Indigenous culture. This paper will provide an overview of this unique co-production and raise some of the challenges facing this concept. It will also highlight a number of the key ingredients that make them successful.