As part of the 2021-22 Budget, the Victorian Government committed $22.5M over four years, with $6.3M ongoing, to reinvigorate Traditional Owner-led cultural land and fire management practices.

Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Grants (CFG) is a Victorian Government initiative that supports Traditional Owners to lead the practice of cultural burning and their unique pathway for creating healthy Country and communities. Cultural Fire Grants program funding streams are intended to build capability and capacity of Traditional Owner groups interested in developing and implementing cultural fire ‘programs’ within their mobs and will support Aboriginal Victorians to implement the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy.

For more information on the Cultural Fire Grants Program and details on how to apply, please visit: Cultural Fire Grants.

The Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy was officially launched by the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change at a ceremony at Nioka Bush Camp, Plenty Gorge Park, on Friday 10 May, 2019.

The Strategy is the culmination of two years work and thousands of years of knowledge and know-how from Traditional Owners across Victoria. It articulates the aspirations of Traditional Owners to practice cultural burning and ensure knowledge about fire is sustained through generations.

Wurundjeri Elder Uncle David Wandin and Dja Dja Wurrung CEO, Rodney Carter, who were both major contributors to the Strategy, spoke at the launch about the important role of fire in healing and managing Country.

The Strategy will help provide a policy directive and framework across Victoria’s fire and land management agencies to support Traditional Owners to undertake cultural burning for the range of cultural values entailed by caring for Country.

The six principles that underpin the strategy are:

  • Principle 1: Cultural burning is Right Fire, Right Time, Right Way and for the right (cultural reasons) according to Lore.
  • Principle 2: Burning is a cultural responsibility.
  • Principle 3: Cultural fire is living knowledge.
  • Principle 4: Monitoring, evaluation and research support cultural fire objectives and enable adaptive learning.
  • Principle 5: Country is managed holistically.
  • Principle 6: Cultural fire is healing.

This Strategy was authored by Victorian Traditional Owners with the support of a partnership between the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations (FVTOC), Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority (CFA).

Over 50 Traditional Owners and Aboriginal fire knowledge holders from across Victoria, who formed the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Knowledge Holder group, contributed to the development of the Strategy, including Aboriginal staff from DELWP, Parks Victoria and CFA.

The Strategy builds on many local partnerships that have been developed over the past five years between Traditional Owners and fire and land management agencies. In 2018, FFMVic enabled Traditional Owners to plan and lead a number of cultural burns on public land across Victoria with more planned for the future. Through providing operational and planning support to Traditional Owners to use cultural fire on Country, DELWP contributes to the connecting country goals measured by the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework.

Please read the Victorian Traditional Owner Fire Strategy (PDF, 1.2 MB).

The Cultural Burning Knowledge Hub is a repository of information from around the world about how Traditional Owners use fire in the landscape. It includes links to a range of documents, websites, organisations, events, videos and more. The Cultural Burning Knowledge Hub was funded by the Victorian Government’s Safer Together program.

Page last updated: 10/10/22