Integrated and shared governance

Published: 05 October 2020
Last edited: 05 October 2020

The customary and legislative protection of Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is enabled and implemented through an established system of governance. At the local level, the governance, decision-making and administrative bodies that oversee and cooperate in the protection and management of the place are the Budj Bim Council, the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (GMTOAC) and the Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation.

  • The Budj Bim Council comprises representatives of Gunditjmara Traditional Owners (the majority of Council members) and the Victorian Government. Its role is to oversee the cooperative management of the ecocultural landscape of the Budj Bim National Park to achieve both cultural and ecological objectives through joint decision-making. It demonstrates the ‘two-way’ sharing of expertise between Gunditjmara Traditional Owners and Victorian Government agencies.
  • The GMTOAC manages the native title rights of the Gunditjmara and promotes continuing connection to Gundijmara Country through its Caring for Country programmes and projects. The GMTOAC owns and manages the Budj Bim Indigenous Protected Area and Lake Condah Mission.
  • The Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation is the owner and manager of the Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area.


Alliance and partnership development
Co-management building
Legal and policy frameworks, policy advocacy
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

This building block is enabled by the recognition of the determinations of Gunditjmara native title rights in 2007 under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth) and further arrangements of joint-management with the Government of Victoria that have enabled a system of “two-way” sharing of expertise between traditional knowledge and the expertise of governmental agencies (ecology, risk management, etc). The Budj Bim Council, in particular, enables the continuous building and maintaining of relationships between Gunditjmara Traditional Owners and government.

Lessons learned

  • The direct involvement of government agencies on the Budj Bim Council ensures that key stakeholders are ‘in the same room’; and that regular interaction builds trust and the capacity for ‚two-way learning’. While the Budj Bim Council formally overseas management of Budj Bim National Park, it also supports strategic planning for the broader Budj Bim landscape.
  • The integrated and shared governance approach between Gunditjmara and government supports the provision of resources to care for and work on Country.

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