The steps involved in negotiating joint management at Stockton Bight
The NPW Act provides for the establishment of the Stockton Bight ANP and its participation in negotiations with the Minister for the Environment and the Worimi LALC. The NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs appointed each member of the Stockton Bight ANP.
Hand back and gazettal
In contrast to other lease-back areas in NSW, these negotiations were over land that had not yet been gazetted as the parks and reserves that make up the Worimi Conservation Lands. Once agreement was reached, the title to the lands was handed back to the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) and Worimi Conservation Lands were established as the following gazetted parks and reserves:
- Worimi National Park
- Worimi State Conservation Area
- Worimi Regional Park.
These reserves will be joint managed under the agreement.
The interim management agreements had Port Stephens Council managing access to Stockton Bight.
Following agreement of the lease and gazettal of the reserves, access is managed by the Board of Management, made up of the following representatives:
- registered Aboriginal owners
- Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council
- Port Stephens Council
- Department of Environment and Climate Change
- conservation interests
Establishment of a board of management
The National Parks and Wildlife Act (NPW Act) requires that a Board of Management manage each area subject to a lease-back agreement. The act also sets out the board's representation requirements and functions.
The board for the Worimi Conservation Lands will be established as soon as possible after gazettal of reserves. Nominations for Board of Management representatives closed on 29 June 2007. With support of the Department of Environment and Climate Change, the board will be responsible for the care, control and management of the lands, including preparation of a plan of management.
Establishment of a plan of management
The NPW Act requires that the Board of Management prepares a plan of management for the joint managed areas within two years of gazettal. This legal document will be produced with DECC's support and will guide the management of the new parks for the next 5 to 10 years.
The process of preparing a plan of management will involve consultation with a range of groups and stakeholders with a particular interest in Stockton Bight, as well as the broader community. The desire to effectively protect the significant natural and cultural values contained within the Stockton Bight landscape, while providing for a wide range of recreational, commercial users continues to be a fundamental consideration for the Aboriginal community.
Future management of the area will provide for the protection of the natural and cultural values of the Stockton Bight landscape, while providing access for the general public and promoting safe and sustainable recreational and commercial use.
Page last updated: 21 October 2011