Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

Memoranda of understanding for joint management

Aboriginal communities can enter into a formal agreement with the NPWS to outline their involvement in the planning and management of national parks and other reserves. These agreements are often referred to as a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

These MOUs may address:

  • Aboriginal community access for cultural activities
  • Aboriginal community participation in park management, including setting up an Aboriginal advisory group for the park
  • Employment, education and training opportunities for Aboriginal people.

An MOU recognises the local Aboriginal people's cultural association with a park and ensures they have greater involvement in its management. However, it cannot resolve native title issues or return the land to Aboriginal ownership. An MOU does not involve payment of rent or compensation to Aboriginal people. Any matters included in an MOU must be consistent with the requirements of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 for managing reserves.

What are the benefits of a memorandum of understanding?
See some of the advantages of an MOU for Aboriginal communities.

How is a memorandum of understanding established?
See what steps an Aboriginal community can follow to negotiate these types of agreements.

Kinchega National Park: Memorandum of Understanding with the Menindee Aboriginal Elders Council
See another Aboriginal joint management example from western NSW.

Mungo National Park: Joint Management Agreement with the Three Traditional Tribal Groups Elders Council
See an example of Aboriginal joint management from western NSW where the NPWS works with representatives of three tribal groups to manage this World Heritage-listed park.

Paroo-Darling National Park: Joint Management Advisory Committee Memorandum of Understanding
NPWS works with representatives of the Paroo Darling National Park Elders Council to manage the park and to protect and promote Aboriginal cultural heritage, values and sites in the Wilcannia area.



Page last updated: 11 September 2012