Media Release

22 November 2018

Bull: Liberal Nationals working with Victoria’s Indigenous communities

Thursday 22 November 2018

Liberal Nationals working with Victoria’s Indigenous communities

A Liberal Nationals Government will work with people in Victoria’s Indigenous communities to deliver a broad package of programs that will support development and help protect and share cultural values, knowledge and beliefs.

At the forefront is $28.8 million over seven years to implement the Return of the Firestick project, which will study and use traditional fire management practices to restore the health of bushland and reduce fire risk for Victorian communities.

This program will also help rebuild and share valuable cultural knowledge of traditional land management practices.

Indigenous land management practices promote healthy landscapes and protect biodiversity using ‘cool’ low-intensity burns.

The Return of the Firestick project will include training and employing up to 40 Indigenous Fire Practitioners who will, in collaboration with traditional owner groups, undertake ‘cultural burning’.

A Liberal Nationals Government will also deliver a package of programs that will:

  • Deliver the Aboriginal Leadership and Self Determination Program. Activities delivered as part of this program contribute to the Victorian Government’s commitment to close the gap and provide funding for training purposes to Aboriginal community members as well as those who work with Aboriginal community controlled organisations.
  • Commit to meet Aboriginal Public Sector and Government Major Projects Employment Targets, including:
  • Increasing Aboriginal participation in the Victorian Public Sector to 2 per cent and conducting a review when this is achieved to look for opportunities for further progress (currently it is 1.2 per cent), and;
  • Setting Aboriginal employment targets of 2.5 per cent on large scale projects and partnering with Indigenous employment agencies to source project staff.
  • Respect and preserve our state’s rich cultural heritage for future generations with the Protecting Our Cultural Heritage Fund. This Fund will allow groups to apply for grants to deliver projects that will protect Victoria’s important cultural heritage sites.
  • Offer grants through the Victorian Aboriginal Economic Development Fund. The latest Aboriginal Affairs report data reveals the unemployment rate for Indigenous people in Victoria has increased from 15.5 per cent in 2008 to 18.6 per cent. As part of a Liberal Nationals Government’s continued commitment to close the gap on employment and economic outcomes, we will provide grants to support Indigenous start-up enterprises to establish and thrive.
  • Establish a grants program to encourage Cultural Tourism to better promote our state’s registered Aboriginal Heritage sites. A Liberal Nationals Government’s Cultural Tourism grants program will help Indigenous program providers to establish viable businesses and will directly benefit local Aboriginal groups by helping to protect and share their cultural knowledge.
  • Fund the Aboriginal Youth Mentoring Program, a program delivered by Aboriginal-controlled organisations that will ensure young Aboriginal people remain connected to culture, families and friends.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Tim Bull:

“A Liberal Nationals Government will support Victoria’s Indigenous peoples to protect and share their culture, with the next generation and with all Victorians.

We’ll also implement the new Return of the Firestick project to help to rebuild and retain cultural knowledge of traditional cultural land management practices, which will also create up to 40 new employment opportunities.”

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for the Environment, Nick Wakeling:

“We can learn a lot from the way our landscapes were managed in the past.

The Return of the Firestick project gives a leadership role to Indigenous communities, sharing their cultural knowledge and skills and delivering positive land management outcomes like healthier ecosystems and reduced fire risks.”