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 Yuku-Baja-Muliku 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 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 were required to apply for permits to undertake traditional activities like fishing, collecting, and hunting in the Marine Park (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2007, 6). In negotiating the Yuku-Baja-Muliku TUMRA, Traditional Owners wanted to create a new system that would ensure the traditional use of marine resources was sustainable long-term. Additionally, the Yuku-Baja-Muliku people wanted to develop and manage their own community-based plans for the preservation of the Reef.
Details of the Yuku-Baja-Muliku TUMRA
Under the Yuku-Baja-Muliku TUMRA, the GBRMPA and Traditional Owners cooperate to integrate modern marine management and traditional knowledge to ensure the sustainability of the environment, whilst preserving traditional customs and connection to sea country.
The main objectives of the TUMRA are to:
- provide a professional service in caring for country, in accordance with Yuku-Baja-Muliku laws, culture, customs, and best practice;
- create job opportunities;
- establish business opportunities and establish private enterprises;
- enhance, promote and develop businesses and programs;
- provide opportunities for community involvement and promoting the empowerment of people; and
- work professionally with other organisations and government agencies to achieve positive outcomes for land and sea management (Yuku-Baja-Muliku, Objectives).
The Yuku-Baja-Muliku Cultural Heritage Program monitors places of cultural significance, which are photographed, recorded and entered into a database.
The Ranger Program provides real jobs and skills development, representing the Yuku-Baja-Muliku people's dream to return to country. By focusing on land and sea management, the Yuku-Baja-Muliku diversify their income by engaging in contracting services with national parks, councils, ecosystem services, visitor infrastructure and neighbouring land-holding bodies (Yuku-Baja-Muliku, Cultural Management).
Yuku-Baja-Muliku Traditional Owners can legally take turtles and dugong by exercising their rights under s 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). However, the Yuku-Baja-Muliku people have chosen, through this TUMRA, to prohibit this activity until a new permit system is in place to ensure effective management and sustainability of the resource (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Traditional Use of Marine Resource Agreements Summary).
Yuku-Baja-Muliku 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.