Indigenous land management
For Victoria's Traditional Owners and Indigenous peoples, land, also known as country, is part of who they are, as they are part of it. Country is central to their identity and culture.
Native title, and connection to country more broadly, reflects the strong spiritual and cultural connection to traditional lands. As the manager of Victoria's Crown land, DELWP plays an important role in resolving native title claims, negotiating agreements relating to land outcomes and generally facilitating increased Traditional Owner access to land.
DELWP extends this rationale to its corporate responsibilities. DELWP is committed to meaningfully engaging and involving Victoria's Traditional Owners and Indigenous peoples in land and natural resource management. DELWP is also committed to improving the employment outcomes and building the capacity of Indigenous Victorians.
Native title rights are the rights and interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in land and waters according to their traditional laws and customs that are recognised under Australian law.
Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010
Victoria has introduced a new alternative system for resolving native title claims.
The Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 provides for an out-of-court settlement of native title and delivery of land justice. The Act allows the Victorian Government to make agreements to recognise Traditional Owners and their rights in Crown land, in return for agreement to withdraw current native title claims and not lodge future claims.
Agreements with Traditional Owners
Victoria currently has agreements with five Traditional Owners groups.
DELWP is committed to the improvement of Aboriginal wellbeing through the development of partnerships to achieve Aboriginal aspiration for land, resources, culture, heritage, family and community.
The Indigenous Partnership Framework is a vital next step in weaving inclusiveness of Indigenous perspectives into all aspects of DELWP's business.
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage
Traditional Aboriginal culture revolved around relationships to the land. These relationships held physical, emotional, social, spiritual and cultural significance and bore obligations and responsibilities for caring for and sharing of country. These links continue for Aboriginal people today who retain an affinity with all landscapes.