Australian Marine Parks

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been sustainably managing their sea country for thousands of years.

Under the Indigenous engagement program, we are working with Indigenous organisations, land councils and Indigenous ranger groups to establish collaborative projects for marine parks, and protect cultural values.

Through the Indigenous engagement program we will be supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people to undertake marine park management such as monitoring and threat mitigation activities and surveillance.

What is the program seeking to achieve?

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

What actions will be undertaken nationally?

Actions under this program at the national level include:

  • developing an Australian Marine Parks Indigenous engagement and cultural heritage strategy, to improve understanding of cultural heritage, link management with sea country plans and maximise employment and enterprise opportunities for traditional owners
  • developing agreements to support Indigenous ranger programs to deliver management in marine parks
  • providing information to Indigenous people about marine park management.

What actions will be undertaken regionally?

Actions under this program at the regional level include:

  • collaborating with traditional owners, Indigenous ranger groups, land councils, Indigenous advisory committees and relevant partners, to undertake marine park management such as surveillance, monitoring and threat mitigation including removing marine debris, and implementing actions identified in sea country plans
  • identifying opportunities and mechanisms to engage traditional owners and Indigenous rangers in the management of marine parks
  • implementing cultural awareness training for Parks Australia staff in association with traditional owners
  • increasing understanding of traditional knowledge and cultural values
  • mapping cultural values and managing culturally significant sites
  • establishing protocols for researchers working with Parks Australia to guide engagement with traditional owners.

How will the program be implemented?

Parks Australia is managing the program across all the 58 Australian Marine Parks we manage to ensure we achieve outcomes and benefits that support social, cultural and economic benefits for traditional owners.

A set of principles have been developed with Indigenous representatives to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to engage in managing the Australian Marine Parks.

By implementing these principles we will build partnerships with traditional owners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cultural responsibilities for managing sea country in these parks.