This page outlines considerations for senior leaders to ensure their organisation’s compliance with the Taungurung Land Use Activity Agreement (LUAA).
The information is relevant to state government agencies, statutory authorities, local government and any other bodies that the LUAA considers Decision Makers or Responsible Persons.
As noted on the first page of these materials, the LUAA is part of an overall RSA (Recognition and Settlement Agreement) package, which aims to create a new relationship of ‘meaningful partnership founded on mutual respect’.
This relationship will be expressed between the Taungurung Land and Waters Council (TLaWC), government agencies and others:
- through their general dealings with each other, over time
- through specific agreements or protocols they might develop together
- through the interaction of key people in each organisation.
Who should hold direct relationships?
For your organisation, people who might seek to build these direct relationships with TLaWC counterparts include:
- elected officials
- CEOs and Secretaries
- senior leaders with overall responsibility for the LUAA and/or other components of the RSA
- staff with day-to-day responsibility for the LUAA and other relevant matters.
Because TLaWC has limited staff and resources, it cannot build meaningful relationships at all of these levels with all local and state government agencies.
Instead, they ask that appropriate leaders from each organisation contact TLaWC to discuss what will work best for each party. This will require some internal coordination within your organisation.
Understand the LUAA’s relationship to other relevant agreements
CEOs and other senior leaders are in a great position to lead by example – so long as they understand what is needed, at least in broad terms.
These web pages focus on the LUAA. You may also have obligations under the Natural Resources Agreement, another component of the RSA. For example, State agencies have targets under the Procurement Strategy for natural resource management.
Local government authorities need to understand Schedule 5 of the RSA (Local Government Engagement Strategy). Your organisation may also have, or be working towards, a Reconciliation Action Plan, or another similar set of commitments.
How do these documents relate to each other?
Two considerations can help to distinguish them:
- Focus: do they relate to Traditional Owners only, or to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
- Requirements: are the actions they describe mandatory or recommended?
The LUAA and RSA focus on the Taungurung as Traditional Owners of the land. Regardless of where they live, all Taungurung people hold unique rights as Traditional Owners by virtue of these agreements and the enabling legislation.
Reconciliation Action Plans, by contrast, usually relate to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live in your area or relate to your organisation. Other organisational strategies related to Indigenous people may also have this broad focus.
Compliance with the LUAA is legally mandatory, as is compliance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.
The Natural Resource Agreement (including participation in the Annual Partnership Forum and the Procurement Strategy for NRM) is also mandatory for the State, where it has NRM functions or responsibilities - but not for local government.
The Local Government Engagement Strategy (RSA Schedule 5) is a commitment by the State to facilitate engagement between TLaWC and local governments in Taungurung Country. It lists a number of actions (items A–M) that may be the focus of these engagements.
The first of these – compliance with the LUAA and the Aboriginal Heritage Act – are mandatory actions for all local councils. The remaining items in Schedule 5 are, in effect, recommended actions for local government.
Use and improve your existing systems
To make LUAA compliance part of business as usual in your organisation, consider ways you can use or improve your existing systems. Here are some examples.
Identify LUUA compliance in risk registers
The risks of failure to comply with the LUAA include legal consequences. Among other things, VCAT could order that land affected by an activity be returned to its previous condition.
Add LUAA assessments to the tools you already use
Review your checklists, project management software and other tools. Consider adding items that cover:
- Does the LUAA apply to the land?
- What kind of activity is it under the LUAA definitions?
- Do we have specific agreements with TLaWC about this kind of activity?
- Have we completed the relevant process?
Make sure your record keeping includes LUAA-related notes and documents
Retain file notes and other records of your assessments of your agency’s ‘land use activities’ on public land in the LUAA. Store them so they can be retrieved to verify your compliance with the LUAA, if required.
Make it easy to refer to guidance
You can include links to these web materials in the documents, websites and digital portals that your teams routinely use.
Training promotes compliance with the LUAA. Consider different ways you can ensure that all relevant staff have the knowledge and skills they need.
- general discussion of the LUAA for all relevant roles during staff induction
- in-depth training for relevant roles, such as in-house training, or attendance at multi-organisation workshops
- refresher training after a specified period (such as 2 to 3 years)
- networks and ‘communities of practice’ among people with similar roles at other similar organisations.
Note that for an initial period of the LUAA’s operation, DPC will take the lead in organising and promoting LUAA training for local government as well as state agencies and statutory authorities. This training will be organised in consultation with TLaWC.
In future years, state agencies and local government may need to organise relevant training independent of DPC (either individually or collectively).
Update position descriptions
Do position descriptions or task lists in your organisation refer to LUAA-related responsibilities or tasks? Updating these might be an immediate and valuable way of building compliance into business as usual.
For position descriptions, consider:
- Who in your organisation is formally responsible for LUAA compliance?
- Who, in practical terms, needs to be involved in each step?
- Who needs to be aware of LUAA requirements (even if not responsible for carrying them out), such as people engaged in planning and budgeting?
For tasks and responsibilities, consider phrases like these:
- responsible for ensuring [your organisation’s] compliance with the Taungurung LUAA
- assess whether the LUAA applies to a project and, if so, what kind of activity and with what resulting process
- notify TLaWC of Advisory, Negotiation and Agreement activities under the LUAA
- consult and/or negotiate with TLaWC regarding proposed activities under the LUAA
- maintain accurate and retrievable records of LUAA activities, processes followed, and outcomes
- estimate time and cost implications, as well as opportunities, arising from LUAA requirements or other engagement with TLaWC
- embed LUAA compliance in project design and management processes.
Questions for performance reviews
When relevant, consider building accountability for LUAA-related tasks into performance review processes.
Adapt self-assessment forms with LUAA-related questions, as appropriate for role description.
Ask questions in regular catch-up, coaching or mentoring meetings:
- "How are you going with…?"
- "Tell me about some examples where…"
- "Do you need any assistance or support with…?"
Ask questions in annual performance review processes:
- "How effective have you been at…?"
- "Describe some instances when you…"
- "Walk me through what you did in each case where…"
Support compliance by other parties
Your organisation is directly responsible for compliance with the LUAA on public land that it manages, or for relevant decisions under the legislation you implement.
Strictly speaking, you are not responsible for other organisations that manage or make decisions about public land. However, consider providing information to others who interact with your organisation about their likely responsibilities under the LUAA.
As one example, local government could include notes or conditions about LUAA compliance when issuing permits under planning and environment legislation. Council staff might also be able to provide information to residents and other stakeholders.