Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

Mungo National Park: joint management agreement with the Three Traditional Tribal Groups Elders Council

Mungo National Park is wholly contained within the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area (WHA), which has a record of Aboriginal life stretching back over 60,000 years. The WHA's comprehensive plan of management, prepared after extensive community consultation, identified all the traditional tribal groups who occupy lands within its boundaries.

Rather than 'divide' the WHA up on a tribal basis, three tribal groups, the Barkindji, Mutthi Mutthi and Nyiampaa, developed a concept of 'shared heritage' and formed the Three Traditional Tribal Groups Elders Council. The council has agreed that management decisions inside the WHA are the business of all three tribes.

To formalise the involvement of traditional owners in the management of Mungo National Park, the NPWS entered into discussions with the council and other Aboriginal community members about options for joint management. One option, the establishment of an advisory committee for Mungo National Park with a majority of members from the council, became the basis for negotiating the joint management agreement.

The agreement, ratified by the council on 24 March 2001 after extensive consultation, provides the council with wide-ranging input into park management. The advisory committee meets regularly to discuss park management and provide advice to the NPWS on issues including:

  • the plan of management
  • any licences for commercial tour operations in the park
  • contracts for work in the park
  • employment in the park.

Each school holidays, one of the three traditional tribal groups runs the Discovery guided tour program. The Mungo National Park Visitor Centre was upgraded in 2010 with structural changes and interpretive material to enhance the visitor experience to Mungo.

For more information on the Aboriginal joint management of Mungo National Park and to hear directly from the Three Traditional Tribal Groups about their connection to the park, go to Visit Mungo.

Mungo National Park is listed on Schedule 14 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, which means it can be returned Aboriginal ownership and leased back by the NPWS (see lease-back agreements for more on this). At this stage, the Aboriginal community has decided not to pursue full joint management.

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Page last updated: 12 June 2014