Joint management recognises the ongoing connection of Traditional Owners to the land. It is about ensuring that the knowledge and culture of Traditional Owners are recognised in the management of that land.
Joint management is a legal agreement between the State and Traditional Owners. Each agreement is tailor-made to reflect the aspirations of the Traditional Owner agreement partner. In Victoria, joint management is generally established through agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010. The Act recognises the ongoing connection of Traditional Owners to their traditional Country, and empowers them, in partnership with the Victorian Government, to actively participate in the management of land and natural resources within their traditional Country. In most cases, Joint Management applies to land that has been handed back to Traditional Owners as Aboriginal Title.
A Joint Management Plan is developed by a Traditional Owner Land Management Board, which is established by the Minister and comprises a majority of Traditional Owners. The Joint Management Plan replaces any prior Park Management Plans.
Parks Victoria is proud to be the main partner with Traditional Owners in caring for jointly-managed parks. We work closely with Traditional Owners to protect the natural and cultural values of these areas and deliver the objectives of the Joint Management Plans.
Our work in these parks is guided by the direction set by our Traditional Owner partners and the Traditional Owners Land Management Boards.
Joint management arrangements are currently in place or being developed with four Traditional Owner groups across Victoria.
Gunaikurnai Recognition and Settlement Agreement 2010
In 2010 the Gunaikurnai People were formally recognised as Traditional Owners over 1.33 million hectares in Victoria’s Gippsland region. This allowed for 10 culturally important parks and reserves to be transferred to Aboriginal title. :
- Buchan Caves Reserve
- Corringle Foreshore Reserve (within Marlo Coastal Reserve)
- Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park
- Gippsland Lakes Reserve on Raymond Island
- Lake Tyers State Park
- Mitchell River National Park
- New Guinea Cave II (within Snowy River National Park)
- Tarra Bulga National Park
- The Knob Reserve (jointly managed with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA))
- The Lakes National Park
There is a Joint Management Plan in place for these areas, developed by the Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner Land Management Board.
The Gunaikurnai Recognition and Settlement Agreement has added four Parks and Reserves to the 10 already handed back as Aboriginal title lands.
- Alpine National Park National Park on Gunaikurnai Country (within RSA)
- Avon Wilderness Park
- Baw Baw National Park
- Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park
The handback of Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park will be the first Sea Country protected area to be jointly managed between the State and a Traditional Owner group in Victoria.
Yorta Yorta Traditional Owner Land Management Agreement 2010
The Yorta Yorta People have joint management arrangements in place for Barmah National Park, although this park has not been transferred to Aboriginal Title. The Yorta Yorta Traditional Owner Land Management Board has released a Joint Management Plan for Barmah National Park.
Dja Dja Wurrung Recognition and Settlement Agreement 2013
The Dja Dja Wurrung People have Aboriginal Title over six parks and reserves within their settlement area, which are jointly managed:
- Greater Bendigo National Park
- Hepburn Regional Park
- Kara Kara National Park (Part)
- Kooyoora State Park
- Paddys Ranges State Park
- Wehla Nature Conservation Reserve
These parks are jointly managed and overseen by the Dhelkunya Dja Land Management Board. A Joint Management Plan for the Dja Dja Wurrung parks is in place.
Taungurung Recognition and Settlement Agreement 2018
The agreement with Taungurung People includes providing Aboriginal Title over nine parks and reserves:
- Alpine National Park (Part)
- Cathedral Range State Park
- Heathcote-Graytown National Park (Part)
- Kinglake National Park (Part)
- Lake Eildon National Park
- Mount Buffalo National Park
- Mount Samaria State Park
- Mount Wombat-Garden Range Flora and Fauna Reserve
- Wandong Regional Park
A Traditional Owner Land Management Board will be established to oversee management planning for these parks.