Funding for nine Cultural Burn workshops in Batemans Bay

Thousands of years of Indigenous land and fire management knowledge is being harnessed as part of a $2 million program to help local communities and regions better prepare for major bushfire events.

The collaboration between Indigenous and conventional land and fire managers is being supported through a $200 million investment in bushfire recovery for wildlife and their habitat, part of the $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

Thirteen grants have been announced delivering a broad range of workshops, cultural burn demonstrations, community engagement and education, and the provision of further training resources across bushfire impacted areas.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management and Deputy Leader of the Nationals David Littleproud said that National Bushfire Recovery Fund continued to play a vital role in helping Australian recover from the 2019-20 summer bushfires.

“We are helping communities rebuild from the devastation and we are helping to make them more resilient in the face of future threats,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Australia has a long history of bushfires and there will be more in years to come. We can’t prevent them, but we are doing all that we can to protect communities and reduce impacts.”

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the Indigenous workshops would share knowledge about cultural burning practices, and the ways they can assist with local land management and bushfire preparedness strategies.

“Increasing understanding of local landscapes, flora and fauna and how these interact with cultural burning is an important part of the fire and land management conversation,” Minister Ley said.

“Traditional Owner groups will hold workshops across the country sharing their knowledge with local land managers, local fire services and councils to identify different types of burns and the ideal weather conditions for protecting native flora and fauna during burns.”

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said the projects recognise the significance of knowledge-sharing and capacity building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

“I’m looking forward to the projects unfolding and discovering how cultural mentoring, technical training sessions and the production of training videos can help preserve our land for future generations of Australians,” Minister Wyatt said.

The Indigenous Fire and Land Management Workshops Program was established last year, with targeted competitive grants of between $20,000 and $200,000.

This funding is in addition to more than $10 million already being invested into Traditional Owner-led projects and activities through the $200 million bushfire recovery for wildlife and habitat package.

In Batemans Bay nine workshops will be run involving around 270 participants, including non-Indigenous landowners and government agency staff, to promote a better understanding of, and safeguarding and strengthening, traditional knowledge.

Photo: Gilliane Tedder