Minister for Parks

Aboriginal Fire Rangers commence new burning program

6 September 2021

In a significant step toward joint land management between the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and Tasmanian Aboriginal people, PWS Aboriginal Fire Rangers employees have completed their first cultural burn at Dempster Plains on the West Coast.

Aboriginal cultural burning has taken place on the Tasmanian landscape for more 40,000 years, and this program provides Aboriginal people with the opportunity to connect to country, share knowledge, and reduce the impact of bushfires in our community.

We know that planned burns, like the cultural burn on Dempster Plains, are an important method to protect the landscape and vegetation values, along with enhancing the survival of sensitive plant communities.

It comes as part of the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to support Aboriginal cultural land management and burning practices, which also includes the awarding of 10 grants to 5 Tasmanian Aboriginal community organisations as part of a $100,000 pilot Aboriginal Cultural Burning Program to help engage and build capacity in cultural burning practices.

The successful applications included projects to plan and undertake cultural burns, purchase firefighting and personal protective equipment (PPE) and to undertake cultural burning training.

The Tasmanian Government recognises that Aboriginal cultural burning practices have helped shape the Tasmanian landscape we know today, and our Government will ensure appropriate collaboration and continuing engagement with Tasmanian Aboriginal people to deliver cultural land management practices.