10 Oct 2022

Walking Together: When a government body truly partners with Traditional Owners

In September, Claire Flanagan-Smith and Jamie Rooney from RMCG were engaged to facilitate a session between North Central Catchment Management Authority and the Dja Dja Wurrung Group – DJAARA and DJANDAK.

In the spirit of reconciliation and partnership, staff gathered to strengthen the significant institutional relationship between Dja Dja Wurrung Group and the CMA by considering partnership opportunities arising from upcoming state and federal funding rounds.

The two organisations have strong geographical alignment given the Dja Dja Wurrung Country extends over the majority of the North Central CMA catchment. The CMA stewardship role strongly aligns with parts of the Dhelkunya Dja Dja Dja Wurrung Country Plan. This session is part of a longer process to increase alignment and embed Djaara rights, culture and expertise in the way the CMA works.

What is clear from this session is that North Central CMA staff recognise that tacking Traditional Owner engagement on as an afterthought is not acceptable or even valuable. When Traditional Owners are partners in developing and enacting strategy, a more effective path to caring for and healing Country emerges.

“Aboriginal society is accustomed to looking to the long term, and thinking strategically. A society which has a custodial ethic has to do this. From this perspective, short-term tactics are of less consequence: it is important to keep the big picture in mind.”
~ Kombumerri elder Dr Mary Graham, expert in Aboriginal history, politics and philosophy.

Find out more about our work in Traditional Owner engagement.