DELWP recognises the unique rights and obligations held by Traditional Owners to care for Country and developing partnerships with Traditional Owners in land management is key to improving how we care for and manage our forests. The current program of forest management reform is an important opportunity to do this.

We understand that there is much to do to enable meaningful and enduring partnerships with Traditional Owners. It is a long-term proposition, which requires shared authority and decision making. We are at the beginning of this partnership journey and have started taking important steps forward together.

These steps include:

  • DELWP and Parks Victoria supporting the development of a Traditional Owner authored Cultural Landscapes Strategy. This strategy will set out how Traditional Owners can lead the planning and management of Country in line with their cultural obligations to care for Country. This strategy serves a vitally important role in providing direction to the Victorian government about how it can enable Traditional Owner self-determination in land management;
  • Funding 12-month Partnership and Engagement positions within each Traditional Owner Corporation to support a partnership approach to forest management; and
  • Funding for Traditional Owners to undertake cultural values assessments to explore Aboriginal cultural heritage values, customs, traditional practices and uses for Victoria’s forests.

The work we have commenced so far with Victorian Traditional Owners:

  • Working collaboratively with Traditional Owners to provide input to the modernisation of the Victorian Regional Forest Agreements .
  • Working with Traditional Owner's as they develop the Cultural Landscapes Strategy to incorporate key aspirations and objectives into the State Forest Management Strategy which will guide forest management planning and decision making on the ground.
  • Working to embed partnerships between Traditional Owner Corporations and our regional planning teams during the updating of State Forest Management Plans from late 2020 .
  • Traditional Owners have commenced with the design and delivery of  cultural values and  projects to help document, record, map and protect Indigenous knowledge and practice. This important work has supported Traditional Owners’ ongoing connection to Country and  right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of Aboriginal culture.

DELWP acknowledges and respects Victorian Traditional Owners as the original custodians of Victoria’s land and waters; unique role in caring for Country; and deep spiritual connection to it.  DELWP acknowledges Traditional Owner’ knowledge sovereignty. We honour Elders past and present whose knowledge and wisdom has ensured the continuation of culture and traditional practices.

Page last updated: 31/07/20