Date: 1 December 2008
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Representatives of various Aboriginal groups from right across south-east Australia met on 1 and 2 December in Tumut NSW as the Australian Alps Indigenous Reference Group. This was the second time the group had met following its inaugural meeting in September 2008.
The gathering was sponsored by the Australian Alps Liaison Committee (AALC), a body incorporating government agencies that manage the Australian Alps national parks (AAnp); the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Parks Victoria, and ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands.
The Group advanced a number of matters that will see Aboriginal people more involved in the management of the Australian Alps national parks. The list of initiatives came out of a meeting of over 100 traditional owners that occurred in 2005 at Dinner Plain in Victoria.
The meeting follows hot on the heels of the announcement earlier last month by the Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, that the Australian Alps national parks had been added to the National Heritage List. This significant milestone recognised that not only are the natural, historic and recreational values of the Alps of outstanding significance to the nation but that the Alps have outstanding Indigenous cultural values also.
With that in mind, Australian Alps Program Manager, Rod Atkins, said that the meeting had made significant in-roads into reconfirming the important role that Aboriginal people have to play in the management of the region.
“In addition to moving the Dinner Plain initiatives forward the Group will advise the AALC on a range of things including how to engage Indigenous people in relevant key co-operative management activities, projects and decision making; the development of Australian Alps-wide capacity building programs such as cross cultural skills training including the identification, survey and monitoring of cultural heritage and interpretation; and mechanisms to improve communications and understanding between AAnp park managers and the broader Indigenous Community.”
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