Australian Marine Parks

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have significant cultural responsibilities to care for sea country. They have been sustainably using and managing their sea country, including areas now in Australian Marine Parks, for thousands of years.

Are traditional owners and native title holders allowed to fish and hunt in Australian Marine Parks?

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), under which management plans are made, does not affect the operation of the Native Title Act 1993 or the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.

Both of these Acts preserve rights to traditional use of land and waters.

Section 359A of the EPBC Act also provides that Commonwealth reserves, including marine parks, do not prevent Indigenous persons from undertaking non-commercial hunting or food gathering or using the reserves for ceremonial and religious purposes.

Do Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need a permit for traditional hunting or cultural ceremonies in marine parks?

No.

How will Parks Australia work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to manage sea country in Australian Marine Parks?

Parks Australia acknowledges the deep understanding and experience that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can contribute to the management of Australian Marine Parks.

To support ongoing engagement and collaborative approaches to managing Australian Marine Parks, Parks Australia has established a set of principles to support collaborative management in sea country and a national Indigenous engagement program.

This program includes actions to recognise and respect the ongoing cultural responsibilities of Indigenous people to care for sea country and support multiple benefits for traditional owners.

In many locations, Indigenous communities have established ranger groups and dedicated Indigenous Protected Areas over sea country.

These Indigenous-led protected areas and ranger groups are making a significant contribution to the management of sea country, including in Australian Marine Parks

Through collaboration with ranger groups and traditional owners Parks Australia will help protect cultural values and support multiple benefits for traditional owners.