What is Joint Management?

The objective of Joint Management is to enable the knowledge and culture of the Traditional Owner group of the appointed land to be recognised in the management of that land.

The Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010

In Victoria, joint management is established under the terms of the Traditional Owners Settlement Act 2010 (Vic). This Act establishes a framework that allows the Victorian Government to recognise traditional owners and certain rights in Crown land, including joint management. To access these rights Traditional Owner Groups can enter into a Recognition and Settlement Agreement. This agreement can include the provision for Parks and reserves to be returned to Aboriginal ownership under a form of land title called Aboriginal Title. Land under this title will continue to be managed as national parks or other forms of public parks.

Find out more about agreements made under the Traditional Owners Settlement Act 2010 (Vic).

Traditional Owner Land Management Boards

Traditional Owner Land Management Boards (TOLMB) are established with the objective of enabling the knowledge and culture of the Traditional Owner group of the appointed land to be recognised in the management of the land. A majority of members will be nominated by the Traditional Owner group entity; the remaining members, representing the State and the broader community, will be nominated by the State.

Joint Management Planning

The TOLMB’s main task will be to develop Joint Management Plans for jointly managed parks. These plans will combine Aboriginal and Western knowledge, and provide a basis for ongoing joint management.

Joint Management plans are developed in line with Traditional Owner aspirations, which some groups have outlined in ‘Whole of Country Plans’. Traditional Owners as individuals and a community will be highly engaged in the development of the plans to ensure important knowledge and values can be captured to inform future activities on the Country.

Parks Victoria and DELWP will continue to carry out day-to-day management of the lands, and will permanently keep some core management functions. This includes fire management and catchment management including designated water supply catchment areas under the National Parks Act 1975 (Vic).

TOLMBs will also play a role in monitoring and supporting compliance of the Joint Management Plan.

Joint management will benefit both Traditional Owners and the wider community by recognising Aboriginal culture and knowledge, providing quality visitor and tourism experiences, improving public education and conserving, protecting and enhancing natural and cultural values.

Joint Management Rangers

Recognition and Settlement Agreements may also include an employment outcome to support the establishment of a Joint Management Ranger team to work on Country. These Ranger teams will provide an important employment opportunity for Traditional Owners to play a key role in the delivery of the Joint Management Plan/s and the ongoing protection and management of Country.

For Aboriginal people, ‘Country’ does not just mean the features of a landscape. ‘Country’ includes all living things; people, plants and animals. It comprises the seasons, stories and spirits. Country is both a place of belonging and a way of believing.

These ranger teams may be employed by Parks Victoria or the Traditional Owner Group Entity.

Access and Use of Joint Management Lands

Jointly managed areas will continue to be managed under the relevant public land Act under which they are reserved. Transfer of parks or reserves to Aboriginal title does not affect existing use and access

Access and use will be considered through the joint management planning, which includes a public consultation process. The joint management plan must be consistent with statewide policy to maintain public access.

This means that existing licences or leases within the jointly managed area will be protected, friends groups can continue to operate, and recreational fishing and hunting will be able to continue.