A first of its kind strategy has been released today by Victorian Traditional Owners in collaboration with the state government which gives Indigenous people more say when it comes to environmental management.
The aims of the strategy will see actions taken to systematically enable Victorian Traditional Owners to lead planning and activate cultural knowledge and practices to manage Country.
Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations CEO, Paul Paton said the significance of the strategy was that it allowed Indigenous people to become a part of decision-making more than ever before.
“Our cultural landscapes are deeply significant for community and this strategy will play a big part in sharing decision-making powers, reforming systems and removing barriers,” said Mr Paton.
“Today marks an important step towards reconciliation and treaty, and sets guidelines for Traditional Owners to, once again, care for Country.”
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation CEO, Rodney Carter welcomed the launch of the strategy as another significant guiding document.
“This strategy can connect us through our Country plans to build upon our relationship with the Victorian Government,” said Mr Carter.
“As Victoria’s First People we are steadily being placed back at Country to care for it as our Ancestors once did, they would be so proud we honour their legacy.”
The strategy provides a framework and tangible actions that will underpin work by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and Parks Victoria, including policy and legislative reform.
Manager of On Country Operations at Gunai Kurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Daniel Miller, hopes that by 2030 the strategy will formally embed legislative requirements and institutional arrangements to access and manage country, and the right to sole management of important cultural sites.
“When Traditional Owners are empowered, it forges a path for healing of Country, which in turn creates strong and respected cultures,” said Mr Miller.
“We are thrilled to be able to celebrate this significant milestone for Victorian Traditional Owners as part of our journey towards healing, nation-building and sovereignty.”
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the state government was "committed" to working with Indigenous people more when it came to environmental management.
"We are committed to empowering Traditional Owner self-determination on country by working in partnership with Traditional Owners," said Ms D’Ambrosio.
"The launch of the Strategy is a significant piece of work that will support and enable self-determination in land management."