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Budj Bim Council appointments - 3 year term

Friday 8 February, 2013

The strong partnership continues at Mount Eccles National Park (Budj Bim) with the re-appointment of the Budj Bim Council by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith. Council members represent the Gunditjmara, Parks Victoria, the Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority.

The Budj Bim Council forms part of the Native Title Settlement Agreement between the Gunditjmara and the Victorian Government and formalises the Co-operative Management Agreement for Mount Eccles National Park (Budj Bim).

The Co-operative Management Agreement covers all of the Mount Eccles National Park (Budj Bim) area and gives the Traditional Owners a formal body to represent them on issues of management of this land, and input into any future planning.

Chief Executive Officer of the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Thomas Day, said the idea of a Council with the Gunditjmara as Traditional Owners working in partnership with government, was a long held aspiration. The past 3 years has seen the Council discuss a range of joint park management business with Indigenous perspectives. The park has a dedicated ranger overseeing its management including visitor safety, koala management, fire protection, maintenance of camping and picnic facilities and a host of walking, driving and cycling tracks.  

“The Budj Bim Council allows the Gunditjmara Traditional Owners to continue their connection to Country, care for Country and to advise on Aboriginal traditional management techniques. It has a breadth of knowledge from both Gunditjmara Elders and younger Gunditjmara members perspective and allows the younger generation to begin understanding the importance of engagement while providing them with training, skills and opportunities that will assist them in management of Aboriginal owned lands.”

The role of the 10-person Council is to promote the sharing of knowledge between government and the community, and ensure that management respects Indigenous protocols and values. Parks Victoria’s role is to implement the Co-management Agreement.

Ranger in Charge Glenelg-Gunditj Area, Don Tumney said:  “It makes a difference to the way we see how what we do affects Gunditjmara Country. The Budj Bim Council adds a broader perspective to park management on Country as it brings in cultural attachment to land management decision making.”

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