Bunurong and CMA cement their partnership

On the eve of Reconciliation Week, the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) and the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC) have formally cemented their partnership, signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday, 20th May 2019.

In July 2017 BLCAC was appointed as the Registered Aboriginal party (RAP) for the Mornington Peninsula, Westernport and part of South-West Gippsland, representing the Bunurong People of the South-Eastern Kulin Nation.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is the first to be signed between the two organisations. The signing took place at a special ceremony at the RACV Resort in Inverloch and was attended by members of the BLCAC and WGCMA Boards, as well as staff and family.

WGCMA Chair, Peter Jennings OAM, said the CMA was committed to working with Traditional Land Owners in natural resource management.

“Formally recognising our partnership is an essential part of ensuring that BLCAC has the opportunity to be key partners of ours on projects in their area,” said Mr Jennings.

“We are committed to working together, and developing trust and respect, through shared understanding and clear communication.”

BLCAC Chair, Aunty Dyan Summers said the partnership was beneficial for both parties.

“By coming together to support each other, we are both stronger.”

The partnership goals include pursuing opportunities for BLCAC to create jobs in land and water management, educating people on the importance of Bunurong Cultural Heritage, and sharing knowledge and resources.

“Our organisation has an established tradition of working with Traditional Owners that stretches back over a decade,” said Martin Fuller, Chief Executive Officer of WGCMA.

“This MoU allows us to put formal structures in place to identify, rehabilitate, preserve and map Bunurong Cultural Heritage sites within our catchment.

“In recent years, our staff have attended successful training days with members of BLCAC and as part of this MoU, we’ve committed to an ongoing Cultural Competency program.”

For BLCAC CEO, Dan Turnbull, the formal partnership represents a chance for BLCAC to share knowledge and create new opportunities.

“Together, we will build the capacity for our organisation to work on Country and in the waters of our RAP area,” he said.

“We will also work together to develop a Country plan, which will inform all the policy and program work within our RAP boundaries.”

The two organisations have agreed to meet twice a year and to re-sign the MoU at regular intervals.

A stunning painting by Bunurong artist, John Winch, celebrates the partnership.

Ngai Wea-Kon Culture represents the Tarwin and Powlett rivers coming down from the mountains, with Bundjil the wedge-tailed eagle watching over them, and depicts people coming together to talk and work on country.

Aunty Dyan Summers
Aunty Dyan Summers, Chair of the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation signs the MoU with West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.
Bunurong MoU signing - CEOs and Chairs
Peter Jennings OAM (Chair WGCMA Board), Aunty Dyan Summers (Chair BLCAC Board), Dan Turnbull (CEO, BLCAC) and Martin Fuller (CEO, WGCMA) signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations.
Smoking ceremony
Uncle Mik Edwards delivered a Welcome to Country at the signing of the MoU.
Bunurong MoU signing May 2019
BLCAC Board, staff and family members joined with Board members and staff from WGCMA to celebrate the signing of the MoU.