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Wet Tropics Regional Agreement

Date: 29 April 2005
Sub Category:Joint Management Agreement
State/Country:Queensland, Australia
The Agreement covers the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area.
Subject Matter: | Land Management | Environmental Heritage | Cultural Heritage
Summary Information:
The signing of the Wet Tropics Regional Agreement between 18 Rainforest Aboriginal peoples and the Queensland and Australian Governments was 'an historic event' that marked the conclusion of four years of negotiations and the beginning of 'a new era in cooperative management of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area' (WTWHA) (Wet Tropics Management Authority Media Release 29/04/2005). The Agreement is the first of its kind in terms of the breadth of negotiations and number of parties, and provides the foundation for cooperation between Rainforest peoples and various government bodies in management of the area.
Detailed Information:
The Agreement rests on the basis that: '[t]he Australian and Queensland Governments acknowledge Rainforest Aboriginal peoples' aspirations, cultural values, spiritual links and obligations to the land and the waters of the wet tropics area'; and '[t]he Rainforest Aboriginal people acknowledge that World Heritage Management agencies have statutory responsibilities to plan and manage the wet tropics area in accord with Australia's international obligations' (Agreement Preface).

The Agreement has four key elements:
- Recognition of cultural values through support for listing the WTWHA on the new National Heritage List for cultural and natural values, which may lead to the nomination of cultural values for World Heritage listing;
- Participation in decision making through agreement to include a second Rainforest Aboriginal person on the Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA) Board of Directors (the principal decision-making body on matters affecting the WTWHA);
- Establishment of an Aboriginal Rainforest Council (ARC) to represent all Rainforest Aboriginal peoples and other aboriginal people particularly concerned with this land in dealings with the World Heritage management agencies of the WTWHA; and
- Participation in policy, planning, permission and management through agreement to guiding principles/guidelines and protocols (which outline specific arrangements for participation in activities including: consultation procedures; operational management; policy development and strategic planning; park planning; permitting for scientific, commercial, and educational activities; cultural heritage management and mapping; and environmental impact assessment).

The Chair of the new Aboriginal Rainforest Council, Russell Butler, says that the Rainforest Aboriginal peoples 'are very excited at the opportunities the Agreement creates for the Indigenous community', particularly the chance 'to share knowledge with government agencies as well as play a significant part in the decision making and consultation process regarding the management of traditional lands' (Wet Tropics Management Authority Media Release 29/04/2005). In addition to the signing of the Agreement, the 'Wet Tropics Aboriginal Cultural and Natural Resources Management Plan' - developed by Traditional Owners to support the Agreement through actions to meet their aspirations in caring for country and culture, and through investment strategies - was launched. It is expected that the Plan, in conjunction with the Agreement, will create employment opportunities for community members, including through 'junior ranger' programs with significant educational and training benefits (Yaxley, 2005; Townsend, 2005).

Related Entries

  • Eastern Kuku Yalanji, the State of Queensland & Wet Tropics Management Authority - National Parks Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)
  • Organisation
  • Department of the Environment and Heritage (Cth) - Signatory
  • Wet Tropics Management Authority - Signatory
  • Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service - Signatory
  • Department of Natural Resources and Mines (QLD) - Signatory
  • Aboriginal Rainforest Council Incorporated
  • People
  • Bandjin People - Signatory
  • Djabugay People - Signatory
  • Djiru People - Signatory
  • Girramay People - Signatory
  • Gugu Badhun People - Signatory
  • Gulnay People - Signatory
  • Gunggandji People - Signatory
  • Jirrbal People - Signatory
  • Koko Muluridji People - Signatory
  • Kuku Yalanji People - Signatory
  • Mamu People - Signatory
  • Ngadjon Jii People - Signatory
  • Warrgamay People - Signatory
  • Warungnu People - Signatory
  • Wulgurukaba People - Signatory
  • Yidinji People - Signatory
  • Yirrganydji People - Signatory
  • Nywaigi People

  • References

    Media Release
    Wet Tropics Management Authority (2005) Historic Aboriginal Agreement for Wet Tropics
    Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management (2005) Caring for Country and Culture - The Wet Tropics Aboriginal Cultural and Natural Resource Management Plan
    Allison Halliday (2006) Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples' Involvement in the Development of a Regional Cooperative Management Agreement and Aboriginal Plan
    Ian Townsend (2005) Indigenous Groups Sign Agreement over Wet Tropics Area
    Louise Yaxley (2005) Indigenous Groups in Qld Sign Environmental Management Deal


    Joint Management Agreement

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