TheVictorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy was launched by the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, at Nioka Bush Camp, Plenty Gorge Park on 10 May. 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 practise cultural burning and ensure knowledge about fire is sustained through generations.

Wurundjeri Elder 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 policy direction and a framework across Victoria’s fire and land management agencies to support Traditional Owners to undertake cultural burning for the range of cultural values entailed in caring for Country. The six principles underpinning the strategy are:

  • cultural burning is right fire, right time, right way and for the right (cultural reasons), according to lore
  • burning is a cultural responsibility
  • cultural fire is living knowledge
  • monitoring, evaluation and research support cultural fire objectives and enable adaptive learning
  • Country is managed holistically
  • cultural fire is healing.

The strategy was authored by Victorian Traditional Owners with the support of a partnership between the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations, DELWP, Parks Victoria and the CFA. Over 50 Traditional Owners and Aboriginal fire knowledge holders from across Victoria, who formed the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Knowledge Holder group, helped develop the strategy. They included Aboriginal staff of DELWP, Parks Victoria and the CFA.

The strategy builds on local partnerships developed in the past five years between Traditional Owners and fire and land management agencies. In 2018, FFMVic enabled Traditional Owners to plan and lead cultural burns on public land across Victoria, and more are planned. DELWP provides operational and planning support to Traditional Owners to use cultural fire on Country, to help achieve the Culture & Country goals in the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2018– 2023.

Traditional Owners will lead the implementation of the strategy, with support from DELWP, Parks Victoria and the CFA.

Page last updated: 23/12/19