On 26 October 2018 the Victorian Government, the Taungurung Land and Waters Council Aboriginal Corporation (TLaWC), and the Taungurung Traditional Owner group signed a suite of agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic), and related legislation.
The Recognition and Settlement Agreement (RSA) commenced on 11 August 2020.
The agreement area is generally bordered by:
- the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation Registered Aboriginal Party boundary to the north
- the Ovens River to the north east
- the Gunaikurnai Recognition and Settlement Agreement area to the south east
- the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Registered Aboriginal Party boundary to the south, and
- the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Recognition and Settlement Agreement area to the west.
Benefits of the settlement agreement
The settlement agreement will benefit all Victorians by:
- promoting reconciliation
- improving the cultural and economic wellbeing of Taungurung people
- providing more resources for land management within the agreement area.
The TOS Act recognises the need to provide for agreements to be negotiated between the state and Traditional Owner groups as a means of advancing reconciliation, in addition to negotiating outcomes in relation to native title resolution.
The settlement agreement enables the state to resolve a potential compensation liability by agreement. It also provides a measure of redress for land injustice that might not be available to the Taungurung under the Native Title Act 1993.
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The settlement package includes a range of redress measures
The settlement package formally recognises the Taungurung people as the Traditional Owners for part of central Victoria.
The package includes:
- funding to support TLaWC to manage the settlement’s benefits and obligations, and undertake economic development
- measures to strengthen Taungurung culture
- grants of nine parks and reserves as Aboriginal title, and up to five surplus public land parcels as freehold title
- a regime for managing activity on public land, and
- resourcing and strategies for the Taungurung people to access, use, and manage natural resources.
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How the agreement will affect different rights and interests in land
Freehold title rights
The agreement will not affect freehold title rights. It includes public lands and waters only within the agreement area.
Existing rights and interests on public land
Existing leases, licences and other rights and interests will be protected for their full term. Examples include farming, fishing, grazing and forestry.
Recreational activities like hunting and fishing will not be affected.
Rights for Traditional Owners to natural resources
The agreement recognises Taungurung people’s rights to access public land within the agreement area to hunt, fish, camp, and gather natural resources.
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Business on public land
The Taungurung settlement includes a Land Use Activity Agreement (LUAA), which provides a regime for managing activities on public land that may have an impact on the rights of the Taungurung.
The LUAA replaces the future act regime of the Native Title Act 1993.
The Taungurung will have an opportunity to have a say or consent to certain activities on public land, and in some cases, ‘community benefits’ are payable to the TLaWC.
Related fact sheet
Parks and reserves that will be granted to the Taungurung
The following areas will be granted to the TLaWC as Aboriginal title:
- Alpine National Park (the part of the Park situated within the Taungurung Agreement Area)
- Heathcote-Graytown National Park
- Kinglake National Park (the part of the Park situated within the Taungurung Agreement Area)
- Lake Eildon National Park
- Mt Buffalo National Park
- Mt Samira State Park
- Cathedral Range State Park
- Wandong Regional Park
- Mount Wombat-Garden Range Flora and Fauna Reserve.
Changes to the way these parks and reserves will be managed
The Aboriginal title lands will be jointly managed by the state and the Taungurung through a Traditional Owner Land Management Board (to be established after commencement of the settlement).
In all cases, the parks and reserves will continue to be managed under the same Act of Parliament by which they are reserved, but will also be subject to a joint management plan developed by the Traditional Owner Land Management Board. Following public consultation, the Minister for Environment considers the Board’s plan. The Minister’s approval is required before the plan comes into effect.
A Traditional Owner Land Management Board will be established by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change after the settlement commences. A majority of members will be nominated by the TLaWC The remaining members, representing the state and the broader community, will be nominated by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).
The Board will develop a joint management plan that will set the strategic direction for the land.
Joint management will benefit both Taungurung people and the wider community by recognising Taungurung culture and knowledge, providing quality visitor and tourism experiences, improving public education and conserving, protecting, and enhancing natural and cultural values.
Parks Victoria will continue to carry out day-to-day management and will permanently keep some core management functions. This includes fire management and catchment management including designated water supply catchment areas under the National Parks Act 1975 (Vic).
Related fact sheet
Access and use of jointly managed lands
Jointly managed areas will continue to be managed under the relevant public land Act under which they are reserved. Protections around existing use and access contained in these Acts and regulations will continue to apply.
The joint management plan embeds Traditional Owner knowledge, values and expertise in the management of the jointly managed land. The drafting process for the plan will include public consultation. The joint management plan must be consistent with Victorian Government state-wide policy to maintain public access.
Existing licences or leases on joint management land will be protected, friends groups can continue to operate and recreational fishing and hunting will continue.
Freehold title grants under the settlement to the Taungurung
TLaWC have the option of being granted any or all of the following surplus public land properties:
- A former DEECA depot at 23 Nihil Street, Alexandra
- A former DEECA office at 44-46 Aitken Street, Alexandra
- A former DEECA office at 30-32 Pinniger St, Broadford
- A former police station and residence at 14 Hurley St, Woods Point
- Two allotments at 533 Zanelli Road, Nagambie.
The value of any properties not granted to TLaWC are provided to the corporation.
Downloadable map and RSA