Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

How is a memorandum of understanding established?

The NPWS can negotiate an MOU with any group of Aboriginal people who have an interest in a park's management. The first step is to contact your local NPWS office to find out more and to express your interest.

There is no legislation that sets out how an MOU should be negotiated. In negotiating joint management arrangements, the NPWS community consultation policy outlines the following principles:

  • recognise that access to information may be restricted to specific groups or individuals—therefore gender, age and clan associations need to be respected
  • recognise that, within communities, there may be a variety of organisations whose members have an interest in an issue
  • notify all relevant parties of consultations that occur in their area of operation
  • include all relevant parties in the consultation process, although the decision whether to participate will be made by the individual or organisation
  • consultation should be open, to enable outcomes that jointly meet community objectives and the NPWS's legislative and policy objectives
  • agreement within communities and between the community and the NPWS should be sought, although this may not always be possible.

In practical terms, the negotiation of the joint management arrangement may occur in a number of ways. The NPWS will need to discuss the proposed joint management arrangement with a group that represents the different groups within the community who have a cultural association with the park. This could be:

  • an existing group
  • an advisory committee to the NPWS
  • a group appointed by the community after a series of community meetings.

Once the community has decided who they want to represent them, the NPWS can meet with them to discuss the joint management arrangement.

Through discussion, a formal written agreement or MOU can be developed. Once the NPWS and the representative group of Aboriginal people are happy with the agreement, it would be signed by senior NPWS representatives and the Aboriginal representative group.

Page last updated: 11 September 2012