Darebin to consult traditional owners on land management

Darebin has committed to entering discussions with Traditional Owners about possible transfer, shared ownership or management of some council land.

Darebin Council has committed to entering into discussions with Traditional Owners about the possibilities of transfer or shared ownership or management of some parcels of council land.

At a meeting in April, Councillors resolved to work with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation to identify council land, including places of cultural significance, that could be handed back to or co-managed with the Traditional Owners. Council is already working in partnership with Wurundjeri’s NARRAP team in various places across the municipality such as Bundoora Park.

Darebin Mayor, Cr Lina Messina, says the council resolution, passed unanimously, is a natural progression of Darebin’s Statement of Commitment to Traditional Owners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

‘We acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and waters we now call Darebin,’ Cr Messina says. ‘But it is not good enough to just acknowledge that, we need to do what we can, in some small way, to provide restitution.’

Council first flagged the potential hand back of some council land in its Council Plan 2021-25, which included, as an action item, ‘beginning discussions with Traditional Owners to understand the feasibility and resources required for council to hand back land and responsibility for land management’.

The Council Plan, which was endorsed in June 2021 was the subject of widespread community consultation, including almost 3,000 members of the Darebin community and a designated deliberative panel made up of around 39 community members.  

‘We are the very start of this process and no land has been identified as yet. We will keep our community updated as this important work progresses and are strongly committed to working with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation towards a future based on justice and respect,’ Cr Messina says.