The Prime Minister, Environment Minister, Victorian Premier, and state and federal Members were told about the essential environmental and cultural work of Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas when they visited Gunditjmara Country in Victoria this week.
The politicians were at Lake Condah in the southwest of the state to announce the Federal Government nomination for the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape to be included on Australia's World Heritage Tentative List. The area is being managed for environmental and cultural values by local Traditional Owners.
Damein Bell is the chief executive officer of the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation.
"It was great to see Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg, Daniel Andrews and Dan Tehan here and talking about the opportunities being opened up by Indigenous Protected Areas and Indigenous rangers and our World Heritage nomination. We regard the Rangers and Indigenous Protected Area as absolutely key to future prospects for our people and the region, and I think we got that across."
"We told Mr Turnbull that IPAs and Indigenous rangers are a key way to work with us and they should be expanded and secured. Really we've got a world leading model here and we need more of it, all round the Australia," he said.
"Its about jobs, community, culture and a healthier environment. Every Australian benefits."
The Gunditjmara people used Lake Condah and surrounding wetlands to form channels to harvest eels in the area thousands of years ago. Today the remains of intricate stone traps used to form the channels can be seen at the site, and it is one of the oldest aquaculture sites in the world.