An elected Liberal Nationals government will work with Traditional Owners, councils, and other land managers to fund and implement the Return of the Firestick project in Victoria.
Through Return of the Firestick, 40 Indigenous Fire Practitioners will be trained and employed within DEWLP to deliver the project. This will include both existing and new staff.
WHAT IS ‘RETURN OF THE FIRESTICK’?
The Return of the Firestick project is a concept initiated by the Wurundjeri Tribe and the Cultural Heritage Council, in collaboration with Yarra Ranges Council.
It has been presented to the Liberal Nationals as a project that can have statewide application, delivering both cultural and environmental benefits to Victoria.
The project will study of the methods and benefits of traditional Indigenous fire management practices; it will train people in these practices; and it will share this knowledge and training for the benefit of all Victorian community.
Project proponents have been in discussion with the Liberal Nationals about the merits of Return of the Firestick in Victoria since 2016.
WHAT IS TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS FIRE MANAGEMENT?
Indigenous fire management, sometimes referred to as ‘cultural burning’, is understood to promote healthy landscapes and boost biodiversity.
The ‘cool’ low-intensity burns are set when fire practitioners identify natural indicators that a certain ecosystem is ready to burn. This includes looking at the condition of trees and grasses.
The cool burns can be used to rejuvenate an area, and to reduce fuel loads which may otherwise add to intensity in a ‘hot’ or uncontrolled fire event. In a cool burn, canopy is protected and animals have time to move on.
WHAT ARE THE PROJECT’S BENEFITS?
Culturally, Return of the Firestick will help to rebuild and reinforce valuable ancient cultural knowledge of Victoria’s Indigenous people in the land management space.
This project will give a leadership role to Indigenous communities, sharing their knowledge and skills while delivering positive land management outcomes.
Environmentally, traditional fire practices can protect and rejuvenate ecosystems and environmental assets, while also reducing fuel loads which, in turn, protects communities.
HOW WILL THE PROGRAM BE IMPLEMENTED
An elected Liberal Nationals government will commit $28.8 million to support implementation of a seven year project. This includes allocation of $15.6 million over the four year period 2019-23.
We will work with Traditional Owners, Councils, and other land managers and stakeholders to fund and implement the project in Victoria.
With our commitment, 40 Indigenous Fire Practitioners trained and employed within DEWLP to deliver the project. This will include both existing and new staff.
Quotes attributable to Ms Melina Bath, Member for Eastern Victoria region
“The return to firestick is a win for indigenous culture and a win for environment. This program will bring a multifaceted benefit to regional Victoria by creating healthy landscapes, reducing fuel load and improving biodiversity.”
“Personally I am excited to see a return to indigenous land practices that will deliver controlled land management practices across Gippsland and protect our communities into the future.”