The GLaWAC aims to further the aspirations of the Gurnai/Kurnai People through the implementation of the native title settlement agreements and the provision of policy advice. It develops and leads key initiatives that improve the capacity, integrity, and independence of the Gunaikurnai People in relation to:
- native title;
- cultural heritage;
- natural resource management; and
- employment issues and aspirations.
(Gunaikurnai Land & Waters Aboriginal Corporation website, accessed 27 April 2022)
Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) status in Victoria
On 23 May 2008 the GLaWAC was appointed by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council as a Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic).
On 18 September 2008, 2 December 2010, 10 March 2011, and 24 May 2012 the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council approved requests to expand the boundary area. See the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council for a detailed decision history.
Land Covered by extended boundaries
The land contained within the RAP boundaries extends over much of Gippsland in Victoria's east coast and into the Alpine region. The area is located along the coast from Nooramung Marine and Coastal Park (just north of Wilson's Promontory) and extends northeast along the entirety of Ninety Mile Beach and towards Marlo. The area extends inland, towards Warragul in the south, and extends north towards Mount Buller, incorporating Baw Baw National Park and part of the Alpine National Park as the boundary extends East towards Mount Hotham and Omeo.
Activities as a RAP
GLaWAC provides joint management of 10 parks and reserves within eastern Victoria. It also provides cultural services including Welcome to Country, Smoking Ceremonies, and Cultural Education Sessions.
In the aftermath of the 2019-20 bushfires, GLaWAC, in association with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DEWLP) established the Gunaikurnai Bushfire Recovery Crew, acknowledging that the impacts of fire on traditional cultural values of ecosystems and biodiversity is best assessed and managed by the Traditional Owners of Country affected by bushfire.
The crew works across the fire footprint, to monitor the impacts of bushfire and assist in the recovery of species that are culturally and environmentally significant.
GLaWAC also provides general natural resource management services to support community groups and landholders to help enhance the environment and support healthy Country, including revegetation projects, biodiversity monitoring, weed control, and landscaping.