Landscape boards committed to reconciliation and First Nations partnerships
16 February 2022
The chairs of South Australia’s nine landscape boards have made a strong commitment to reconciliation and to strengthening partnerships with First Nations across the state by signing an historic ‘Statement of Commitment’.
The statement marks an important formal commitment by the boards to collaborate with First Nations in working toward statewide landscape priorities.
Developed in consultation with cultural authorities including the First Nations Coordinating Committee and SA Native Title Services, the statement gives twelve commitments to guide how each board will embed First Nations partnerships and expertise in delivering regional landscape plans.
Chair of the collective of landscape board chairs, David Greenhough, is confident that setting out the agreed commitments will see better integration of First Nations partnerships and engagement into landscape management and community capacity building.
“We have committed to learn from and with our First Nations partners, actively seek their ideas and support their aspirations.
“Each of the nine Landscape SA regions encompass rich and diverse cultural stories and histories. Through signing this statement each board is committing to build stronger relationships with Aboriginal people and organisations in SA, and supporting their greater economic prosperity and wellbeing. Ultimately, we are committed to looking after our land, water and people together.
“We have worked with First Nations authorities to ensure the statement genuinely honours the intent of reconciliation and the ‘Closing the Gap’ principles, and reflects our pledge to deliver” he said.
The geographic region of the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board overlaps with multiple First Nations Country; Narungga, Nukunu, Ngadjuri, Kaurna and Peramangk. The Statement of Commitment emphasises the Board’s ongoing dedication to collaborate and partner with the First Nations people of the region.
In 2020, the Board formed an Aboriginal Engagement Committee to strengthen this strategic partnership. Representatives from each of the five First Nations are part of the committee, together with three Board members, and delegates from Legatus Group, Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North and Regional Development Australia Barossa Gawler Light Adelaide Plains. The committee meets four times a year, with every second meeting held on Country. The next on-Country meeting will be held in Melrose on Nukunu Country in February 2022.
Another example is the Board’s facilitation of the Healthy Country Planning (HCP) process. During the past three years, the Board has worked with the Narungga and Nukunu Nations to identify their aspirations, goals and values for healthy Country and a better future. Through a series of community workshops, plans that encompass the cultural, environmental and social values are developed. Workshops for the Narungga HCP were completed in 2020, while the final workshop for the Nukunu HCP is set for the first half of 2022.
“Healthy Country Planning and the Board’s Aboriginal Engagement Committee provide genuine and practical opportunities to listen to a range of voices from First Nations communities,” said Northern and Yorke Landscape Board Aboriginal Partnerships Officer Matthew Turner. “The rich information generated through these processes is fundamental in setting the Board’s priorities and the development of on-ground programs.”
The Statement of Commitment stipulates that through respectful cross-cultural knowledge sharing, and long-term conversations, the boards commit to implementing actions that will see board members, staff and Aboriginal people working together to manage, protect and restore their region’s landscapes.
Recognising each region has very different cultural contexts, each local action plan will look different, but will be tailored with and for the local Aboriginal communities.
The signed statement will be proudly displayed in offices around the state and on each local landscape board website.
About landscape boards
Landscape boards are established under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019. Boards support communities and land managers to manage their region’s soil, water, pests and biodiversity.
View the Landscape boards of SA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statement of Commitment.