Background of the TUMRA framework
For Traditional Owners, the spiritual relationship with country has been compared to the relationship one has to family; meaning it is a relationship to be loved, nurtured, cared for and above all, respected (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2007, 3).
The Indigenous Land and Sea Country Partnerships Program is a $20 million investment in Traditional Owner management of the Great Barrier Reef. The program was created to provide resources and funds for the development and implementation of TUMRAs, such as the PCCC TUMRA.
Under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 a new framework was established to segregate different 'zones' of sea country so they can be used for specific purposes. The new framework complements existing community-based measures developed by Traditional Owner Groups to protect marine life while ensuring entitlements enshrined in the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) are recognised. The new framework replaces old zoning plans and gives more power to Traditional Owners in managing the reef's resources (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2007, 5).
Under the previous approach, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Marine Park needed to apply for permits to undertake traditional activities like fishing, collecting, and hunting (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2007, 6). In negotiating the PCCC TUMRA, the PCCC Traditional Owners wanted to alter the permit system and develop and manage their own community-based plans for the preservation of the Reef.
Details of the PCCC TUMRA
The PCCC Regional TUMRA was developed under the Reef Rescue Land and Sea Country Indigenous Partnerships Program, which was designed to enable the creation of TUMRAs that provide guidelines for equal negotiations.
The GBRMPA and Traditional Owners are working together to integrate modern marine management and traditional knowledge to ensure the sustainability of the environment while preserving traditional customs and connection to sea country.
Torres Strait Islander people from the four PCCC Traditional Owner groups undertake traditional use of marine resource activities to:
- educate younger generations about traditional rules, protocols, practices and activities on sea country;
- practice their living maritime culture; and
- provide traditional food for families.
The PCCC Traditional Owners' TUMRA Working Group and Steering Committee have management processes to enable the effective management of sea country, including:
- facilitating workshops between Traditional Owners and government agencies;
- developing strategies for cultural and environmental preservation;
- developing culturally appropriate policies that reflect Traditional Owner cultural and heritage values, rights, aspirations and responsibilities
for sea country;
- distributing posters, newsletters, fact sheets and information to increase awareness of relationships;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander membership on the Board of the Marine Park and Advisory Committees; and
- creating Sea Country Partnership Programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people to manage and preserve the sea country.
Under this new approach, traditional use of marine resource activities can only be conducted in accordance with s 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), the PCCC TUMRA, or as permitted in writing by the GBRMPA. Only Traditional Owners can undertake traditional use of marine resources. The Act includes various provisions that impose penalties for individuals who breach zones and management procedures.
In accordance with the PCCC TUMRA, the hunting of dugong is not allowed in the agreement area. The Steering Committee is responsible for authorising hunting permits. Traditional Owners may capture one Green Turtle per person per fishing expedition.
PCCC TUMRA area
The agreement area is divided into eight zones, each designed to obtain and preserve a different goal: (a) the General Use Zone; (b) the Habitat Protection Zone; (c) the Conservation Park Zone; (d) the Buffer Zone; (e) the Scientific Research Zone; (f) the Marine National Park Zone; (g) the Preservation Zone; (h) the Commonwealth Islands Zone.
Native Title Provisions
Native Title in the Agreement Area
This agreement is within the area of the native title determination Blackman on behalf of the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, Taribelang Bunda People v State of Queensland (No 3)  FCA 1637 (FCA file no.: QUD6026/2001, NNTT file no.: QCD2017/010).
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 (14) recognises that under section 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), a native title holder may hunt, fish, or gather any species in the exercise or enjoyment of their native title rights and interests for the purpose of personal, domestic or non-commercial communal purposes without having a permit or being included within a TUMRA. Native title holders cannot exercise these rights freely where legislation requires that a permit to fish in the area is needed.