Traditional burning, healthier bushland
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Traditional burning, healthier bushland

Improving the health of East Gippsland’s bush, while reducing fire risk, will be an aim of an elected Liberal Nationals Government, which has declared support for the Return of the Firestick project, which is based on traditional indigenous fire management practices. The approach has been supported by the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria.
In welcoming the commitment, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said Return of the Firestick was a project that would study and involve traditional fire management practices.
“In such a unique area like East Gippsland, support for this is critical and that’s why we have announced $28.8 million towards the concept, which will also help rebuild and share valuable ancient cultural knowledge of Aboriginal Victorians in the land management space,” he said.
“Indigenous fire management is understood to promote healthy landscapes and boost biodiversity with ‘cool’ low-intensity burns.
“This commitment includes training and employing up to 40 Indigenous Fire Practitioners who will work with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
“If successful at the November election, we will work with Traditional Owners, councils and other land managers and stakeholders to fund and implement the project in Victoria,” Mr Bull said.
Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria projects officer, Chris Commins, said support for this project was a “step in the right direction” and that his organisation was “very supportive” of the plan.
“There are many similarities in the way mountain cattlemen and the indigenous used to burn the bush,” Mr Commins said.
“Government agencies can also learn an awful lot from firestick management.”
Shadow Minister for Environment, Nick Wakeling, said the Return of the Firestick concept was developed by the Wurundjeri Tribe and the Cultural Heritage Council, in collaboration with Yarra Ranges Council, and could have state-wide application and benefit.
“We all treasure Victoria’s landscapes and the new Indigenous Fire Practitioners will help protect and boost the health of our ecosystems,” he said.
“It also gives a leadership role to indigenous communities, sharing their cultural knowledge and skills and developing positive land management outcomes like healthier ecosystems and reduced fire risks.”
Tuesday, May 8, 2018