The Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners’ strong connection with the land has been legally recognised in the Recognition and Settlement Agreement and it will enable them to jointly manage the 10 parks and reserves.
These environments including the forest, rivers, beaches, plants and animals are all part of ‘Country’ and the cultural identity of the Gunaikurnai. They are valued for the environment and as a vital part of contemporary Aboriginal culture. Protecting, managing and enjoying the land are an important part of this connection and responsibility.
This settlement agreement is a first for Victoria and recognises Gunaikurnai people’s strong connections and understanding of the land and waterways over thousands of years. Joint Management will ensure the Gunaikurnai play a central role in managing these parks in the future.
Joint management is a term used to describe a formal partnership arrangement between Traditional Owners and the State where both share their knowledge to manage specific national parks and other protected areas.
Joint management recognises the ongoing connection of Traditional Owners to the land. It involves Traditional Owners and park staff sharing their knowledge to manage specific areas. There are a number of Joint management models operating in different parts of Australia including New South Wales, South Australia the Northern Territory and Queensland.
The objective of joint management is to establish an equitable partnership between the State and the Gunaikurnai People to ensure innovation and excellence in joint management, including the following purposes:
- benefitting the Gunaikurnai People by recognising, valuing, promoting and incorporating their culture, knowledge, skills and decision-making processes;
- benefitting the community needs of all Victorians and visitors for public education and enjoyment through quality experiences, services and information;
- conserving, protecting and enhancing natural and cultural values;
- enjoying widespread community support; and
- ensuring the well-being of country and the wellbeing of people.
Joint Management Plan
A Joint Management Plan must provide for the sustainable management of the Appointed Land and may include strategies for:
- The conservation of natural values and cultural values (including heritage protection);
- Managing threatened species;
- The recognition and utilisation of traditional Gunaikurnai knowledge and customs;
- Attracting and managing visitors;
- Managing authorised and adjacent uses (including third party interests);
- Community awareness and involvement;
- Managing public use and access to the land;
- Plan implementation;
- Providing operational support to the Board of Management;
- Promoting, encouraging and assisting Gunaikurnai persons to take advantage of employment, training and contracting opportunities relating to the land;
- Managing commercial activities;
- Managing fire consistently with the Secretary’s directions;
- Any additional matters contained in relevant Ministerial guidelines / Joint Land Management Principles.
Joint management will benefit both Gunaikurnai and the wider community through recognising Indigenous culture and knowledge, providing quality tourism experiences, improved public education and by conserving, protecting and enhancing natural and cultural values. There will be increased funding to support joint management and to employ Gunaikurnai people to work on country. This will result in healthier parks and better visitor experiences.
Directed by the JMP, the intention is to enable the practice of traditional land management together with the State’s contemporary natural resource management systems.
Updates and announcements on the joint management planning process will be included in this website.