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Paul Paton Talks About The Victorian Traditional Owners On Big Brekkie

Wmannjinde, ngetal makthar Paul Paton…Hello and my name is Paul Paton. Paul is a Gunnai and Monaro man with a long involvement in reconnecting individuals and communities with language, culture and identity. He has held several executive roles and directorships including as the Executive Officer at the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages and as a Director on the Board of First Nations Legal & Research Services.

Paul is committed to building on the Federation’s success as a key organisation that strengthens the voice of Traditional Owners in Victoria. He brings his knowledge, skills and networks to work closely with Traditional Owners across the State to support their aspirations for community and Country whilst taking up the challenge for self-determination and Treaty.

Victorian Traditional Owners today launched the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Landscapes Strategy (Strategy), redefining the connection to Country for the world’s oldest living culture.

Facilitated by the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations (Federation) and developed in Partnership with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Parks Victoria, the Strategy is the first of its kind in Australia and sets out a framework to systematically enable Victorian Traditional Owners to lead planning and activate cultural knowledge and practices to manage Country. Federation Chief Executive Paul Paton spoke of the significance of the Strategy and the ways in which cultural landscapes underpin the values, practices, interests and knowledge associated with Country. “Our cultural landscapes are deeply significant for Community and this Strategy will play a big part in sharing decision making powers, reforming systems and removing barriers. Today marks an important step towards reconciliation and treaty, and sets guidelines for Traditional Owners to, once again, care for Country.” Mr Paton said. Victorian Traditional Owner groups and knowledge holders say the strategy will provide direction to the Victorian Government about how it can enable and empower Traditional Owners to care for and heal Country.

Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation trading as DJAARA Group CEO, Rodney Carter, welcomed the launch of the Strategy as another significant guiding document, the first of its kind. “This Strategy can connect us through our Country Plans to build upon our relationship with the Victorian Government. As Victoria’s First People we are steadily being placed back at Country to care for it as our Ancestors once did, they would be so proud we honor their legacy.” The Strategy provides a framework and tangible actions that will underpin work by DELWP and Parks Victoria on future forest and parks management and decision making, including policy and legislative reform.

Manager of On Country Operations at GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Daniel Miller, hopes that by 2030 the Strategy will formally embed legislative requirements and institutional arrangements to access and manage Country, and the right to sole management of important cultural sites. “When Traditional Owners are empowered, it forges a path for healing of Country, which in turn creates strong and respected cultures. We are thrilled to be able to celebrate this significant milestone for Victorian Traditional Owners as part of our journey towards healing, nation building and sovereignty.” Mr. Miller said. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio welcomed the strategy, saying: "We are committed to empowering Traditional Owner self-determination on Country by working in partnership with Traditional Owners. The launch of the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Landscapes Strategy is a significant piece of work that will support and enable self-determination in land management." For more information of the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations, or the Cultural Landscapes Strategy, visit

Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Landscapes Strategy • On Friday 27 August, the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations (the Federation) and Victorian Traditional Owners launched the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Landscapes Strategy (the Strategy). • The Strategy includes a framework which will create transformative change for Victorian land and water management through a collaborative and strength-based approach. • The development of the Strategy was funded by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Parks Victoria. • The purpose of the Strategy is to embed a State-wide Traditional Owner management of Country by enabling a collaborative and strength-based approach to effect transformational change in contemporary land and water management.. • The Strategy provides a pathway for Traditional Owners to systematically reinstate cultural land management practices and begin the complex task of restoring and redressing harms to Country. Through this we will bring healing to Country and community. • The Strategy is an important step towards reconciliation, Treaty and to Traditional Owners, once again, caring for Country. • “Cultural Landscape” refers to the dynamic interactions between people and Country, and includes the natural environment, spiritual and traditional knowledge of that environment, and the cultural practices and activities applied there.

Cultural Landscapes Strategy overview • The Strategy aims to ensure Traditional Owners are consulted across all land management processes in Victoria. • The Strategy will help guide Victorian land management strategies and polices. These include: o The implementation of the Commonwealth and Victorian Government’s modernised Victorian Regional Forest Agreements o The development and implementation of Forest Management Plans for DELWP o The Land Management Strategy and Land Management Plans for Parks Victoria

• The Strategy enables Traditional Owners to lead the planning and management of cultural landscapes, and to meet a collective vision of healing Country and culture. • The Strategy has five goals it seeks to achieve: 1. Restoring the knowledge system  Restoring the knowledge system strengthens Traditional Owner worldviews, rejuvenating practices with knowledge applied to meet cultural objectives. 2. To strengthen Traditional Owner resilience  Resilience and pride in Traditional Owners’ leaders are needed to enable delivery of their contemporary role as custodians of Country. 3. To enable Traditional Owner cultural landscape planning  For Traditional Owners, planning is an ongoing, holistic and adaptive relationship with Country. Traditional Owner cultural landscape planning describes the relationship between holistic objectives and actions on Country. 4. Strengthening Traditional Owner Nation Resilience  To embed Traditional Owner knowledge and practices into policy planning, and the management of Country requires significant changes to existing policy and planning systems 5. Traditional Owner cultural objectives, knowledge and practice in the management of public land  To re-establish a holistic and integrated planning and management approach. Management of Country will be through the application of multiple cultural practices that are founded on Indigenous knowledge systems. Strategy process • The Strategy was developed over two years with input from both Victorian Traditional Owners and existing land management organisations. • The project was led by Victorian Traditional Owners, Elders, knowledge holders and the Federation. • The final Strategy was released on-line via a Zoom webinar.

Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations • The Federation is the State-wide body that convenes and advocates for the rights and interests of Traditional Owners while progressing wider social, economic, environmental and cultural objectives.. • As the only organisation of its kind in Australia, the Federation was established by Victorian Traditional Owners in 2013 to advance shared interests in Government policy and political engagement. • The Federation supports Traditional Owner voices to self-determine their futures and strengthen their collective interests and opportunities. • The Federation is the collective voice of Traditional Owners and aims to amplify these voices to wider audiences. Our Federation Members represent community and are recognised by Government as the cultural custodians of Country. • The Federation Board is made up of two representatives from each its Traditional Owner Corporation members.


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