Launch of the Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy signals new era for policy development in Australia

 

The Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy has officially been launched at a ceremony at Nioka Bush Camp on Friday attended by Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio.

It’s the first of its kind and is a culmination of two years effort and thousands of years of knowledge and wisdom from Traditional Owners across Victoria.

The strategy provides a set of principles and strategic priorities to facilitate greater self-determination for Traditional Owners and provides a policy and practice framework for effective Traditional Owner-led cultural fire management in Victoria.

Wurundjeri Elder Dave Wandin, who was one of the key Aboriginal fire knowledge holders involved in the development of the strategy, spoke to its importance at the ceremony launch last week.

“As we start to document now, as we must do, our practices I believe it will change the scientific model of how fire has been handled in the past,” he said.

“It is about forgetting our borders and caring for Country as a whole … cultural fire means everything. It means healing Country and when you heal Country, you heal people.”

Dja Dja Wurrung Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the project’s governance committee Rodney Carter said the strategy will help provide a policy directive and framework across Victoria’s fire agencies to support Traditional Owners to reintroduce cultural fire for the range of cultural values entailed in caring for Country.

Photo:  The Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy launch at Nioka Bush Camp on Friday May 10, 2019.

Photo: The Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy launch at Nioka Bush Camp on Friday May 10, 2019.

While Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations CEO Marcus Stewart spoke to the significance of the project and said that it forged a new way of thinking and partnership between Traditional Owners and government.

“I would like to acknowledge the Fire Knowledge Holder Group for their dedication and expertise on this strategy,” he said.

“I also acknowledge the state government’s support in enabling our team to progress this crucial state-wide strategy bringing Traditional Owners’ aspirations around cultural burning to the fore in government strategy and policy.

“The reason this strategy is so critical is because it’s Traditional Owner-led and designed and it enables and underpins our cultural rights. This approach provides a pathway to reinvigorate and embed fire knowledge and practices across Victoria.”

For further comment or information please contact Alexandra Sheehy on 0420 314 221.

Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations
PO Box 431, North Melbourne VIC 3051
t: (03) 9321 5300
Website: www.fvtoc.com.au

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land we work on as the First People of this country.