See Land Use Activity Agreement (LUAA) Contacts for information about how to contact the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation (known as DJAARA).
Process for Routine activities
For Routine activities there is no requirement to notify DJAARA. The activity may proceed immediately.
Local councils are encouraged to keep appropriate records of their assessments that certain activities are Routine, especially if there could be any dispute about that assessment.
Process for Advisory activities
Advisory activities require notification of DJAARA and, depending on DJAARA’s response, an appropriate consultation process.
Ministerial Directions as to Advisory activities (made by the Attorney-General on 24 October 2013) specify the minimum content of the notification. There is a 28-day minimum period to allow DJAARA to respond. Document templates have been developed to assist with meeting these requirements, but use of the templates is not mandatory.
- Notify DJAARA of the proposed activity
- Await response from DJAARA until the date specified in your notice (minimum 28 days)
- If no response received, or a response with no objection or comments: the activity can proceed
- If comments received: acknowledge the comments in writing. Consider the comments, and meet with DJAARA if requested
- Make your decision, taking relevant comments into account
- Record your decision and notify DJAARA.
Process for Negotiation activities
Negotiation activities require notification of DJAARA and good faith negotiations. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is a potential adjudicator if agreement cannot be reached.
The minimum content of the notification is set out in the Traditional Owner Settlement Regulations 2017(opens in a new window).
Document templates are available to assist with meeting these requirements, but councils may develop their own documents that meet the minimum requirements.
The Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 specifies the requirement to negotiate in good faith (s.50), although the term “good faith” is not defined in the Act. VCAT may make a determination as to whether or not either party has met the requirement for good faith.
The State has committed to calculating “community benefits” for Negotiation activities according to formulas in the LUAA (percentage of rent, value of land). These formulas do not automatically apply when a local council is the decision maker, but the parties may adopt them by agreement. Whether community benefits are paid, and their extent, is a matter for negotiation, along with whether they will be paid in cash or through in-kind benefits.
If the local council and DJAARA are unable to reach agreement, after six months of good faith negotiating, either party may apply to VCAT for a variety of orders to resolve the dispute. As of December 2023, no such orders have been sought.
- Notify DJAARA of the proposed activity
- Negotiate in good faith with DJAARA regarding whether and on what conditions the activity may proceed, including whether and how much Community Benefits are to be paid to DJAARA.
- If agreement is reached: proceed with activity (in accordance with agreed conditions).
- If agreement cannot be reached, after 6 months of negotiation in good faith apply to VCAT for an order.
- Pay DJAARA’s reasonable costs of negotiating.
Process for Agreement activities
Local governments are unlikely to be the “decision maker” for Agreement activities under the LUAA (e.g. Major Works for commercial purposes and/or the clearing of land for commercial purposes).
If a council did seek, for example, to clear land for a commercial purpose that council should seek further advice before proceeding. See What kind of activity is it?
Council may also be involved in giving permits or information to other managers of public land, such as a permit under planning and environment legislation to clear vegetation. Such permits are not land-use activities under the LUAA. However, that land manager may need to follow LUAA processes before carrying out the clearing works, potentially impacting on the processes for Agreement activities.
In summary, Agreement activities require notification of DJAARA and good faith negotiations (as for Negotiation activities). However, the activity cannot proceed unless and until DJAARA agrees. There is no appeal to VCAT if agreement cannot be reached.
The State has agreed to pay community benefits for Agreement activities according to formulae in the LUAA (such as percentage of rent or value of land). While these formulae do not apply when a local council is the decision maker, a local council is still required to negotiate community benefits. Whether community benefits are paid, and their extent, are matters for negotiation, along with all other aspects of the proposed activity.