Purpose and Scope of Barmah National Park Joint Management Plan
Barmah National Park in north-central Victoria was proclaimed on 29 June 2010 following a recommendation to the State Government by the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council. It covers 28 505 hectares of floodplain forests and wetlands along the southern bank of Dhungalla (the Murray River) between the towns of Barmah and Tocumwal, approximately 220 kilometres north of Melbourne.
The park is located on the traditional Country of the Yorta Yorta people, who are formally recognised by the Victorian Government as the Traditional Owner Group for Yorta Yorta Country, based on traditional and cultural associations with the land. The Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC) is recognised as the Traditional Owner Group Entity for the Yorta Yorta people. It is also the Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic.) with decision-making responsibilities for protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage, and other matters, within the RAP area.
In 2010 the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of the State of Victoria, entered into a Traditional Owner Land Management Agreement (TOLMA) with the YYNAC over Barmah National Park under the Conservation, Forests and Lands Act 1987 (Vic.). The TOLMA:
- provides for the establishment of a board appointed by the Minister, comprising members nominated by the YYNAC and other members;
- acknowledges that the appointed land will be managed in accordance with the National Parks Act 1975 (Vic.) and other legislation;
- recognises the then legislative and management responsibilities of the Secretary (DELWP) and the assignment of certain land management functions for the park to Parks Victoria; and
- requires the Yorta Yorta Traditional Owner Land Management Board (YYTOLMB) and the Secretary to prepare a Joint Management Plan, to be approved by the Minister.
The objectives of joint management under the TOLMA are to establish an equitable partnership between the State of Victoria and Yorta Yorta which:
- ensures innovation and excellence;
- benefits the Yorta Yorta people by recognising, valuing, promoting and incorporating their culture and knowledge, skills and decision-making processes;
- identifies opportunities for the involvement of Yorta Yorta people in the management of the park;
- benefits the community needs of all Victorians and visitors for public education, and enjoyment through quality experiences, services and information;
- conserves, protects and enhances natural and cultural values;
- enjoys widespread community support;
- ensures the well-being of Country and the well-being of people.
Under the TOLMA, the Joint Management Plan must cover:
- conservation of natural values and cultural values;
- managing threatened species;
- the recognition, practice and utilisation of traditional Yorta Yorta knowledge and customs;
- attracting and managing visitors;
- managing authorised and adjacent uses (including third party interests);
- community awareness and involvement;
- managing public use and access to the land;
- plan implementation;
- providing operational support to the Yorta Yorta Traditional Owner Land Management Board (YYTOLMB);
- promoting, encouraging and assisting Yorta Yorta persons to take advantage of employment, training and contracting opportunities relating to the National Park;
- managing commercial and other land use activities;
- managing fire consistently with the directions of the Secretary, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP);
- any additional matters contained in relevant ministerial guidelines.
The JMP must also set out a statement of objectives for achieving sustainable management of the park.