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

Mr Jim Turnour
Member for Leichhardt

Landmark Sea Country Partnerships Forum announced

Media release
17 May 2010

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Representatives from the more than 70 Traditional Owners groups within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park will converge on Cairns later this month for a landmark meeting aimed at enhancing communication and information sharing about sea country.

Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett and Member for Leichhardt, Jim Turnour, today announced the two and a half day Sea Country Partnerships Forum scheduled for 28-30 May 2010.

"The Sea Country Partnerships Forum is a landmark event, signalling a real desire for partnership between Traditional Owners and marine managers for a sustainable future of the Reef," Mr Garrett said.

"This will be the first time such a large group of Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owners have come together to discuss broader sea country management issues under the Australian Government's Reef Rescue initiative and it builds on the great work already underway by Traditional Owners on these critical issues” Mr Garrett said.

Mr Turnour said the Forum will include a series of speakers, presentations and workshops aimed at working toward best practice sea country management and developing future leaders by strengthening youth connection to their sea country.

"The Government is committed to working with Traditional Owners and I am pleased that a big focus for all involved is a collaborative approach to sustainable management and use or our marine resources.

“This Forum follows requests from Traditional Owners to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for a collective opportunity to discuss sea country management. Several Traditional Owner groups have formalised agreements with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on how they manage their sea country," he said.

"The Forum gives Traditional Owners an opportunity to openly discuss their experiences in managing sea country and for valuable information sharing with marine managers,” Mr Turnour said.

This Forum is part of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country Reef Rescue Indigenous Land and Sea Country Partnerships Program, which is delivered through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The Program aims to foster the expansion of the Traditional Use of Marine Resources Program across the Great Barrier Reef catchment.

It also aims to strengthen communications between local communities, managers and reef stakeholders and build a better understanding of Traditional Owner issues about the management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Commonwealth of Australia