Cultural Heritage is our lifeblood. As Traditional Owners, our Heritage is our relationship to Country – land and waters, the rocks, soil, plants, animals and all the things on it. Our Heritage connects us with each other. We look after Country, and it looks after us – body, heart and spirit. We want to make sure that the Culture is living, vital and continuing for many generations to come. We have that responsibility. It is our inherited and fundamental right, as custodians of the oldest living Culture on earth, to practice Culture and to set a vision for a strong future for our Cultural Heritage.
Every 5 years the Aboriginal Heritage Act (2006) in Victoria requires a report on the State of Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. This is the first report developed by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council and will reflect on:
- What is Cultural Heritage?
- What rights do Aboriginal People want regarding Cultural Heritage?
- How are Aboriginal People able to exercise these rights regarding Cultural Heritage currently?
- What stops Aboriginal People from exercising their rights?
- How well does the wider Victorian community understand Aboriginal Cultures?
- What is the vision for the future?
The Taking Care of Culture Discussion Paper will then inform the State of Victoria's Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Report 2016-2021.
Your thoughts and feedback will provide the basis of a benchmark for where we are and where we can be in regard to protecting, managing and celebrating all Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Victoria. Through thinking and talking about this Discussion Paper, you can help shape the pathway for current and future Traditional Owners to live their Culture through real and tangible ownership of their Country and management of Cultural Heritage.
The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council is a body of Traditional Owners and we understand the sensitivities and hesitancies in providing feedback on a Discussion Paper such as this. We are not Government and we are not producing another document to sit on a shelf. We know what our mob think, but we want to know what your mob think. Together, we can tell the world the problems and the successes of how we manage Cultural Heritage in 2021, as well as our vision of what our lived ownership of Culture and Country will be in 2026.
In working together with a shared vision, we can change the laws that should support us to manage and protect our Culture, the oldest living Culture on earth.
We would like to hear from Victoria’s Aboriginal People and those working with them about the state of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Victoria. You can do this by responding to the questions above and throughout this Discussion Paper by:
A state-wide consultation will be conducted with key stakeholders and written submissions for the Report will be accepted to assist the critical analysis of the state of Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage laws.
The final Report on the State of Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage 2016-2021 is intended to be finalised by the end of August 2021.
Reviewed 04 January 2021