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Hunter Local Land Services supporting Indigenous Fire Management

Hunter Local Land Services is supporting Local Aboriginal Land Councils and land managers to develop firefighting skills and traditional burning techniques to manage their land and implement hazard burns.

A three day Indigenous fire management forum and workshop in Forster in early August was attended by more than 50 people, including Local Aboriginal Land Councils, community and government representatives.

Nationally recognised Indigenous fire practitioner Victor Steffenson led a cultural burn near Tarbuck Bay on Tuesday August 1. The fire was conducted on land managed by the Forster Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Participants said a burn of this type had not been seen in the area for many years.

Mr Steffenson said sharing knowledge is crucial to helping community improve their skills.

“Knowledge is the biggest safety factor, if you have knowledge you are safe because you know what the fire will do before you burn, you know the country, the trees and the landscape,” he said.

“It was good to see local landholders, rangers and government agencies here together, because

that’s what it’s all about, building relationships.”

Aboriginal Communities Officer Toby Whaleboat said the forum and workshop is part of Hunter Local Land Services commitment to help community members improve land management.

“Working with the community here has been really special, especially seeing the elders and the

Aboriginal land managers get involved and participating and getting out on country,” he said.

“Hunter Local Land Services has a five year plan that we are working with all the communities in the region to develop their capacity in land management, including through Indigenous fire management.”

Hunter Local Land Services plans to conduct a similar forum and fire management workshop in the Upper Hunter in 2018.

The event was funded by the Australian Government National Landcare Programme and New South Wales Government Catchment Action.