Cultural burning, an ancient practice rooted in Indigenous traditions, resurges as a sustainable approach to bushland management and fire hazard reduction.
Recognising the urgent need to manage over 80,000 hectares of bushland in South-East NSW before the upcoming fire season, Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) is taking the lead in educating, training, and involving local cultural burning practitioners through collaboration with existing land management agencies.
Cultural burning involves employing traditional Indigenous techniques to reduce fire hazards and promote land regeneration while respecting significant First Nation sites, pathways, and the preservation of native flora and fauna. Currently, fire mitigation efforts in the region are primarily organised and executed by NSW Forestry, Rural Fire Services, and National Parks Wildlife Service, with limited understanding or recognition of cultural land management techniques. This knowledge gap raises concerns about the preservation of First Nation cultural heritage and the long-term sustainability of land management practices.
To bridge this gap and foster meaningful dialogue, Batemans Bay LALC has partnered with Australian Business Volunteers (ABV) to co-design a gathering where local communities can convene, share cultural burning techniques, and engage with formal fire mitigation service providers. This collaborative effort aims to create an inclusive platform for all stakeholders to unite on Country, exchange knowledge, and devise effective strategies to enhance fire hazard reduction and land management practices.
ABV CEO Liz Mackinlay comments, "Cultural burning is not just about reducing bushfire risk; it's about revitalising all Australians' connection to Country and preserving generational knowledge that is invaluable to protecting this land. By facilitating spaces of connection like this, ABV is humbled and honoured to support our First Nations partners as they preserve these special cultural practices."
Andrew White, esteemed head fire practitioner at Batemans Bay LALC, will be a featured speaker at the upcoming conference on Indigenous land management. White expressed the vision behind the initiative, stating, "We want to get mob back on Country burning and get mob at the table to make decisions."
This important event connects cultural burning practitioners, land management agencies, and relevant stakeholders. By facilitating discussions and knowledge-sharing on Country, the conference aims to pave the way for innovative strategies that enhance Australia's disaster resilience for the future.
Funding acknowledgement: This project is funded by the Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) which is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments.
We acknowledge the support of our partner ARUP.
This event is invite only.