|The MOU acknowledges that both parties have expertise in similar matters including land management, 'protection, sustainable use and administration of natural resources'. The parties recognise each others roles, skills and responsibilities and express their intention to endeavour to maximise communication and collaboration between them.
The objectives of the MOU are to clarify the roles of the parties in relation to each other, to enhance communication, establish procedures to implement the parties common goals, and ensure that action taken by the parties is 'coordinated, capitalises on opportunities, makes the most effective use of resources and maximises the benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and for the broader Australian community'.
The MOU also sets out the particular roles and responsibilities of each party. Those of the ILC include the assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the acquisition and management of land, continued land management activities and coordination of its functions with other agencies and programs. The DEH is to advise the Commonwealth Government on policies and programs for the protection and conservation of the natural environment and places of cultural heritage and to manage major programs including those under the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. (These are jointly administered with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry).
The key objectives of the DEH are set out as follows. They are to:
' Protect Australia’s atmosphere
Identify, protect and conserve biodiversity
Protect Australia’s coasts and oceans
Operate a world class environmental assessment and approvals system
Protect and conserve Australia’s heritage
Accelerate improved environmental performance by Australian Industry
Protect and restore environmental values of Australia’s inland waters
Conserve, restore and promote sustainable use of Australia’s land
Establish and manage protected areas
Advance Australia’s Antarctic interests
Promote and implement Indigenous-specific policies, programs and initiatives’ in conjunction with other agencies and programs such as the Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) program, the Indigenous Protected Area Advisory Group (IPAAG), the Indigenous Land Management Facilitator Network, the Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (Cth), jointly managed Commonwealth National Parks and measures to improve Indigenous engagement in natural resource management.
Part 3 of the MOU sets out a 'Framework for Communication, Cooperation and Coordinated Activity'. The parties agree to work together to develop common and complementary goals, to identify opportunities, develop information sharing protocols, derive resources for projects developed under the auspices of the MOU, nominate points of contact within the respective organisations and meet as required for review and discussion purposes, undertake joint visits to properties and regions of mutual interest, communicate and work collaboratively in developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander capacity to manage land, vegetation and natural resources, and consider prospective collaborative projects.
The parties agree acknowledge that they each possess confidential information which may be disclosed to the other for the purpose of giving effect to the MOU and that such information will not be disclosed to other parties without prior written consent. The MOU also contains a dispute resolution clause which provides that the parties will meet and discuss any disputes in the spirit of cooperation.
Either party may terminate the MOU at any time by written notification to the other party. The provision contained within the MOU may be reviewed upon request of either party and amended by written consent of both.
It is not intended that the MOU should give rise to any legally enforceable rights or obligations between the parties.
The MOU was signed by Ms Shirley McPherson, Chairperson of the ILC and Mr David Borthwick, Secretary of the DEH.|