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The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts

Building Indigenous partnerships to care for Great Barrier Reef sea country

Media release
19 March 2010

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Marine managers and a Native Title representative body have officially teamed up to work with Traditional Owners in the Cairns region on sea country management.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's (GBRMPA) partnership with the North Queensland Land Council (NQLC), kicks off today with the first of four workshops in Gordonvale.

Through these workshops, to be held in Gordonvale, Yarrabah, Kuranda and Innisfail, GBRMPA and the Land Council will work together to canvass Traditional Owner interest in developing partnerships to manage sea country.

Environment Protection Minister, Peter Garrett, said this collaborative approach to managing sea country presented new opportunities for Traditional Owners and benefits for the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

"The partnership between the GBRMPA and North Queensland Land Council is an important step forward in working with eight Traditional Owner groups in North Queensland," he said.

"The Land Council will assist the GBRMPA to provide information and seek views from Traditional Owner Groups with strong links to the Reef and dedication to protecting it for the future.

"Our work with the Land Council supports development and implementation of management arrangements and plans that are driven by Traditional Owners, including Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements.

"The Australian Government is committed to working with Traditional Owners on all matters relating to the management and sustainable use of sea country resources in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park."

North Queensland Land Council Chief Executive Officer Dewayne Mundraby said they were keen to work with respective government agencies and Traditional Owners on this important issue.

"The NQLC Board of Directors has endorsed this administrative initiative of establishing a communicative management regime across the extent of our coastal representative region for the enhancement of Traditional Owners’ socioeconomic wellbeing."

These workshops are supported by the Australian Government’s Reef Rescue Indigenous Land and Sea Country Partnerships Program. Reef Rescue is fundamental in supporting Traditional Owners to effectively manage their sea country and supports broader Australian Government initiatives including Closing the Gap for Indigenous Australians.

North Queensland Land Council is the Native Title representative body for North Queensland stretching from the Daintree and Bloomfield Rivers in the north, to Sarina in the south, and west to beyond Richmond and Croydon.

Commonwealth of Australia