Taungurung People Recognised As Traditional Owners
The Andrews Labor Government has signed an agreement formally recognising the Taungurung people as the traditional owners of a large area of central Victoria.
The agreement is the outcome of more than three years of negotiations, and covers an area stretching from Rochester and Kyneton in the west to Bright in the east, and Euroa in the north to Kinglake in the south.
The Labor Government will invest $24 million as part of the agreement, including more than $16 million to support Taungurung economic and cultural development initiatives, and $8 million to support the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation’s core costs.
An additional $300,000 a year will be provided to support the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation to partner in natural resource management.
The agreement involves the transfer of nine parks and reserves to the Taungurung as ‘Aboriginal Title’ and the granting of up to five Crown properties, which the Taungurung may request be transferred to freehold title held by the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation.
The Taungurung people and the Government will develop a joint management plan for Aboriginal Title areas through a Traditional Owner Land Management Board.
The agreement recognises the Taungurung people’s traditional owner rights to access Crown land to hunt, fish, camp, and gather natural resources. The new agreement has been negotiated under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010, which allows for out-of-court settlements to recognise the rights of Victorian Traditional Owners.
The Act was introduced as an alternative to litigation under the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993 and is one way in which the Government supports Victoria’s Traditional Owners to achieve self-determination. Victoria is the only state to have co-designed with traditional owners a comprehensive alternative to the Native Title Act.
Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula
“This agreement with the Taungurung people formally recognises their traditional ownership rights over a significant part of central Victoria.”
“It establishes mutual partnerships between the Government and the Taungurung people, reaffirming the government’s commitment to self-determination for Aboriginal people in Victoria.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins
“Today marks a significant day for Taungurung Traditional Owners and Aboriginal self-determination in the state. I’m proud the Victorian Government has recognised and negotiated a settlement with the rightful owners of country in central Victoria.”
Quote attributable to Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation CEO Matthew Burns
“This settlement with the Government shows that times are changing for Traditional Owners in Victoria and for the Taungurung people – it’s a pleasing recognition after such a long journey, which will help many Taungurung community members to heal.”