Shepparton News

Giving power back to elders

TRADITIONA­L OWNERS TO PROVIDE VITAL CARE, MANAGEMENT OF COUNTRY AS PART OF NEW STRATEGY

- By Georgia Rossiter

A new strategic framework set to see the return of decision-making powers to traditiona­l owners was launched last week by the Victorian Government.

The Victorian Traditiona­l Owner and Cultural Landscape Strategy was written by traditiona­l owners with the support of the Victorian Government and sets out a pathway back to self-determinat­ion and land management for Indigenous peoples.

The strategy involves partnering with traditiona­l owners to incorporat­e cultural land and fire management practices.

Systemic barriers to selfdeterm­ination will also be addressed as part of the framework. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gabrielle Williams said the strategy was significan­t not just for its contents but also the involvemen­t of traditiona­l elders in the process.

‘‘Strategies like this one are so important, not just what they say but how they are created,’’ she said.

Energy, Environmen­t and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the strategy and its developmen­t was also in recognitio­n of the impact European colonisati­on had had on traditiona­l owner rights, including their ability to care for Country.

“We recognise the difficult and traumatic history First Nations people have experience­d and are ensuring traditiona­l owners have the power to make decisions about the care and management of Country in Victoria,” she said.

The 2021-22 Victorian budget provides $11 million to Traditiona­l Owner Corporatio­ns to begin implementi­ng the Cultural Landscape Strategy.

“We believe in selfdeterm­ination and are proud to have worked in partnershi­p with traditiona­l owners on this strategy,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

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