Traditional owner contacts resource

Julie Lightfoot
March 8, 2018

Far Northerners are being encouraged to connect with indigenous groups when planning land management projects.

A new stage of the Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country is being rolled out, with interactive mapping now available to provide traditional owner contact details for locations across the Wet Tropics.

The 20 Wet Tropics traditional owner groups – in areas from the Daintree to Ingham and Mt Garnet - include more than 100 clan and family groupings.

Terrain NRM Board Indigenous Director Allison Halliday said many traditional owners had strong and enduring connections to country and were actively involved in managing their traditional land and sea country.

“Working with traditional owners brings enormous benefits to natural resource management, and also recognises and respects the significant contribution Aboriginal people make to the management of the cultural and natural resources of the region,’’ she said.

“Groups are becoming more and more active in caring for country, working with government organisations and off their own backs in everything from interpretive signs and cultural tourism to monitoring turtle nests, fire management and biosecurity work.”

The new mapping portal was created by Terrain NRM in response to public consultation while developing the Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country. This unearthed many people’s uncertainties about how to contact traditional owner groups and who to contact.

The portal draws on publicly-available information from the National Native Title Tribunal and government departments, and displays Native Title determinations within the region as well as recognised Indigenous Protected Areas, Indigenous Land Use Agreements, Native Title Claims and Cultural Heritage Bodies.

Terrain NRM’s Bronwyn Robertson said it was the first time the whole range of recognised and registered information had been brought together in one place.

“You can use the mapping portal to drill down to your specific locations of interest across the whole Wet Tropics region,’’ she said.

“We are encouraging everyone – from community groups and corporations to Local and State Government – to use the portal when they are planning projects so they can find out who the relevant traditional owner groups are, and open up lines of communication with them.

“We are also encouraging traditional owner groups to use the mapping tool for their purposes and let us know their thoughts. The portal is in draft form at the moment and people can give us feedback by emailing nrmplan@terrain.org.au.”

Gunggandji Land and Sea Ranger April Thomas (pictured) said Gunggandji Rangers had a meaningful and important role to play in protecting the land and sea country in the Yarrabah area.

“There is a strong spiritual connection to country,’’ she said.

To see the new interactive mapping pages, visit the Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country website at www.wettropicsplan.org.au and go to the ‘Mapping Tools’ page under ‘Mapping’.