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Aboriginal joint management

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. Joint management operates successfully in different parts of Australia including New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

In Victoria, joint management is established under the terms of the Traditional Owners Settlement Act 2010 (Vic). This Act establishes a framework that recognises native title in Victoria and joint management can be a component of a native title settlement. The Act allows for parks and reserves to be returned to Aboriginal ownership under a form of land title called Aboriginal Title. Land under this title will continue to be managed as national parks or other forms of public parks.

Traditional Owner Land Management Boards (TOLMBs) will be established to oversee the management of parks covered by joint management arrangements.

 The TOLMBs will be made up of Traditional owners (majority), government representatives and members of the broader Victorian community. The TOLMBs first task will be to develop Joint Management Plans for their parks. These plans will combine Aboriginal and Western knowledge and provide a basis or ongoing joint management.

 Many benefits flow from joint management for Traditional Owners and the broader community. Joint management provides:

  • Important recognition of the aspirations and continued cultural strength of Victorian Traditional Owners 
  • Will lead to new and innovative approaches to park management 
  • Will help park visitors learn more about the culture, history and contemporary aspirations of Traditional Owners.

 

Parks Victoria’s Role

Parks Victoria is the main partner with Traditional Owners in caring for jointly managed parks. Parks Victoria will continue to deliver on ground management in these areas. Our work will be guided by the direction set by the TOLMB.

 

Joint management and the community

The areas where joint management is established will continue to be public parks and reserves. Everyone will continue to have access to these areas. Joint management will help visitors learn more about the continuing connection between Traditional Owners and the land.

 

Where is joint management in place in Victoria?

Joint management has been formally established in two locations in Victoria:

  • East Gippsland - The Gunai/Kurnai People have been granted title to ten parks and reserves within their native title settlement area including Tarra Bulga National Park and the Knob Reserve near Stratford.
  • Barmah National Park - The Yorta Yorta People have joint management of Barmah National Park. While the title to this park has not been transferred to the Yorta Yorta, the park will be overseen by a TOLMB.

 

Co-management in Victoria

Co-management is another form of partnership with Traditional Owners operating in Victoria. Co-management is an outcome of the recognition of native title. Under this arrangement, title to parks and reserves is not transferred to the Traditional Owners. The Traditional Owners do, however, shape the ongoing management of specific parks by forming councils with representatives from Parks Victoria, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Catchment Management Authorities.

 Co-management exists within:

  • Mount Eccles National Park with the Gunditjmara people of South West Victoria
  • With the Wotjobaluk peoples of the Wimmera and Mallee regions in parks such as Mount Arapiles State Park and Little Desert National Park
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