Aboriginal cultural burning in Tasmania

Minister for Parks

Aboriginal cultural burning in Tasmania

9 June 2022

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is providing $1.3 million in the 2022-23 Tasmanian Budget for Aboriginal cultural burning in Tasmania to support joint land management outcomes between the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

The funding provided will enable the PWS to employ Aboriginal Engagement Officers to ensure the success of the cultural burning program, support engagement activities between the PWS, Tasmanian Aboriginal people and organisations, and identify areas that are suitable for cultural burning.

Aboriginal cultural burning practices have been undertaken for tens of thousands of years and have helped shape the Tasmanian landscape we know today.

Importantly, this Government recognises that Aboriginal cultural burning in Tasmania is only undertaken by Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

This is because of the deep, ongoing connection that Tasmanian Aboriginal people have with their land, including sophisticated land management practices such as cool burning, and the important part this has played in Tasmania’s culture and history.

We want to draw on the deep connection Tasmanian Aboriginals have with this land and to share in their knowledge of cultural burning practices to help reduce the impact of wildfires, and also deliver ecological benefits for Tasmania’s landscapes, including fauna and flora.

These important engagement activities will be supported by the Cultural Burning Policy and procedures, which is being undertaken in consultation with PWS Aboriginal staff and Tasmanian Aboriginal people, and will support Aboriginal community controlled organisations to undertake cultural burning activities.

This important body of work is currently out for consultation with input sought from Tasmanian Aboriginal people and organisations prior to the PWS undertaking consultation with other stakeholders.

The pilot program in 2021 also included a Cultural Burning Grants Program with grants provided to undertake cultural burns, purchase equipment, travel to burn locations, and attend Firestick Alliance training.

I am very pleased to announce that the grants program will continue with the PWS currently undertaking a review of last year’s program to inform the future structure of the program.

I am also pleased to announce that the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Fire Management Plan has been finalised. The Plan outlines the adaptive management framework that will be utilised to modify fuel characteristics and behaviour, and to protect fire-sensitive natural and cultural historical assets that form an important part of our cultural landscape.

Aboriginal Fire Rangers commence new burning program

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.