Joint Management

The Gunaikurnai people’s strong and continuing connection with Country was legally recognised in October 2010. As part of the package of agreements in the Traditional Owner Recognition and Settlement Agreement, Gunaikurnai hold Aboriginal Title over 14 national parks and reserves.

-Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner Land Management Board

Aboriginal Title is the grant of crown land to Traditional Owners for the sole purpose of joint management, and recognises Aboriginal peoples’ deep understanding of land, water and biodiversity.

Joint management of this land is a partnership between Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners and the State, allowing both to bring their knowledge and skills to the management of protected areas.

These environments including the forest, rivers, beaches, plants and animals are all part of Country and the cultural identity of the Gunaikurnai.

They are valued for the environment and as a vital part of contemporary Aboriginal culture. Protecting, managing and enjoying the land is an important part of this connection and responsibility.

Joint Managed Country

Country is vital to contemporary Aboriginal culture and an important part of the cultural identity of Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners.

Joint management is a new way of managing the land, and an exciting opportunity for us to have real influence over what happens on our Country.

As part of the model, Gunaikurnai and Parks Victoria Rangers are collectively responsible for the on-ground management of the 14 parks and reserves.

The partnership also brings the opportunity for knowledge sharing and development of employment, education and training. With the partnership comes decisions, resources, skills and equal opportunity in all relationships and business.

This is the basis of the partnership between the Gunaikurnai and the Victorian Government.

How Joint Management works on Gunaikurnai Country

The joint management is overseen by the Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner Land Management Board (GKTOLMB) comprised of a majority of our Traditional Owners, along with representatives of the broader community.

The long-term aspiration of the Gunaikurnai, as shared by the GKTOLMB, is to progress through joint management to full management of all Aboriginal Title land, generating a range of cultural and economic benefits for Traditional Owners and delivering important outcomes for the broader community.

It is recognised that there is a long way to go before this aspiration can be fully realised, with steps being taken now to build the capacity, experience and evidence base to work towards a full transfer of responsibility to Gunaikurnai in the future.

This joint management model is a new way of managing the land, and an exciting opportunity for us to have real influence over what happens on our Country.

What’s new in JM?

Each year, the GKTOLMB host a Joint Management Reflections Workshop involving all partners involved in joint management.

The feedback provided is a very important way for us to know where Joint Management is delivering for Gunaikurnai people, and what the improvement opportunities are.

We invite you to click below to read a summary of feedback from 2022.

Take a look at why Joint Management is so important to our mob

Watermark Artwork

The Wrens are important totems for the Gunaikurnai people. In traditional times (i.e. pre- European) the Gunaikurnai belief system was that males were born and took the Yeerung (emu wren) as their totem animal, and females were born with the Djeetgun (superb blue wren) as their totem.

All men are Yeerung and all females are Djeetgun and are never to injure these animals for they are brothers and sisters of the Gunaikurnai.

The wren artwork has been used as inspiration for the design and development of JM branding.