State strategy restores Traditional Owners’ involvement in land management

By Melissa Coade

Monday August 30, 2021

Gabrielle Williams
Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gabrielle Williams. (AAP Image/James Ross)

The role that Traditional Owners play in land management decision making in Victoria has been established in a new strategy launched this month. 

A new strategy launched by the Victorian government provides a framework for Traditional Owners to lead the management of Country in line with cultural obligations.

Under the strategy, the state government has agreed to partner with Aboriginal communities to reform land management practices that ‘create barriers to self-determination’ of managing living and cultural landscapes. This includes cultural land and fire management practices.

The Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Landscapes Strategy was developed by Traditional Owners with support from the state government and land management agencies. 

In a statement, the Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gabrielle Williams said the role that Indigenous Australians played to develop the document was significant. 

“Strategies like this one are so important − not just in what they say, but how they are created − led by Traditional Owners,” Williams said. 

The strategy also recognises and addresses the ‘significant impact European colonisation has had on Traditional Owner rights and obligations to care for Country by restoring knowledge systems and reconnecting Traditional Owners to Country and cultural land management practice’.

A total of $11 million has been committed towards implementing the cultural landscape strategy by Traditional Owner Corporations. 

Minister for energy, environment and climate change, Lily D’Ambrosio added that the state government was proud to have worked with Aboriginal representatives to produce the document.

“We recognise the difficult and traumatic history First Nations people have experienced and are ensuring Traditional Owners have the power to make decisions about the care and management of Country in Victoria,” D’Ambrosio said. 

The Victorian government has also set aside $2.6 million to fund officer roles in the state’s 11 Traditional Owner Corporations to support Tractional Owner participation in Regional Forestry Agreement initiatives. 

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