Meeting of Aboriginal Custodians caring for NSW National Parks
More than 50 Aboriginal Joint Management Custodians from across NSW will meet today on Worimi Conservation Lands (Djukal Buna or big beach) near Newcastle to share their culture and experiences co-managing the state's national parks.
Petrice Manton, Chairperson of the Worimi Conservation Lands Board of Management said the Board is delighted to welcome the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Custodians who have travelled from as far away as Byron Bay, Broken Hill and Narooma.
"This year celebrates 10 years since the NSW Government handed back 4000 hectares of land at Stockton Bight to the Worimi Traditional Owners, to be jointly-managed as the Worimi Conservation Lands," Ms Manton said.
"This meeting is an important networking opportunity for Custodians to collaborate on issues and challenges as well as celebrate the successes.
"Aboriginal people have been conservationists of their own lands for thousands of years.
"Joint management demonstrates that we are still here and we are still doing it and this arrangement continues to support Aboriginal people to have a real say in how our lands are managed.
"We are happy to be working in partnership with NPWS who are celebrating their 50th year," Ms Manton said.
Michael Wright, NPWS Executive Director said this is the 14th meeting of Custodians representing 30 Aboriginal Joint Management Boards and Committees.
"It's important to reflect and acknowledge the contribution of Aboriginal people to the management of national parks on their traditional lands," said Mr Wright.
"This meeting is an opportunity to do that and to share ideas on how joint management can continue to support Aboriginal peoples' continuous connection to their lands and culture.
"Joint management acknowledges that Aboriginal people are past, present and future custodians of these parks and the ongoing management of these protected areas benefits from Aboriginal knowledge and practices.
"I am very pleased to be here, to listen and share stories on how our state's parks are managed in partnership for conservation outcomes as well as social and economic benefits," Mr Wright said.
Today's meeting includes a trip to the Worimi Conservation Lands where the Custodians will learn about Worimi culture and Country. It follows the 2016 meeting of Custodians in Broken Hill hosted by the Mutawintji National Park Board of Management.
There are more than 100 jointly managed parks covering more than 25 per cent of NPWS reserves. For more information visit Aboriginal joint management of parks.