Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

What are the benefits of a memorandum of understanding?

Aboriginal joint management arrangements for parks can ensure that local Aboriginal people are involved in the management of country that is important to them and that Aboriginal people's cultural rights and practices can be recognised and taken into account in managing the park. At the same time, the NPWS benefits from Aboriginal people's knowledge and experience (see How does Aboriginal joint management work?).

joint management agreements are the simplest way of establishing a formal written arrangement. Some advantages include:

  • an MOU can be negotiated with Aboriginal people nominated by the Aboriginal community, and is not restricted to 'native title holders' and 'Aboriginal owners' defined by legislation
  • an MOU can be as detailed or as general as the community and the NPWS want, unlike lease-back agreements and indigenous land use agreements which must address certain issues required by the legislation, however the outcomes agreed in an MOU must be consistent with the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
  • an MOU can be as binding or as flexible as the community and the NPWS want
  • the negotiation of an MOU can follow a process determined by the community and the NPWS, can evolve over time and does not have to fit a process set by legislation
  • the negotiation of an MOU does not require complex property transactions and legal advice
  • the negotiation of an MOU will probably take less time than the negotiation of a lease-back arrangement or an indigenous land use agreement.

Do Aboriginal people get jobs in joint managed parks?

This will depend on the park, the size, location and nature of the park, and the joint management agreement and what employment opportunities are available.

There may be scope for improving employment for Aboriginal people in the long term - by employing Aboriginal people when existing jobs become vacant or by involving local Aboriginal people in the recruitment process.

The NPWS may be able to provide access to its training programs and other educational opportunities to Aboriginal people who are involved in a joint management arrangement.

Page last updated: 27 February 2011