Planning schemes to support ATSI knowledge, culture and tradition

Queensland’s planning legislation is leading Australia in its recognition of the need to value, protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, culture and tradition.

Minister for Planning Cameron Dick said new guidance material, released today, will assist Queensland councils in supporting cultural awareness through their local planning schemes.

“This material will help councils engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to identify cultural heritage areas or objects that may need to be recognised in their local planning scheme,” Mr Dick said.

“Some communities may wish to protect certain areas from development, while for others respectfully enhancing the economic and tourism benefits of certain areas or objects may be the focus.

“We recognise each community is different though, and what specific councils and communities will want to achieve through their planning scheme will be different too.

“Our aim is to improve the working relationships between councils and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to maximise positive outcomes through the land use planning process.”

Mr Dick said Townsville City Council’s proactive approach towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recognition stands as a great example for other councils.

“They’ve included an overlay to ensure places of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander significance are conserved and managed in a culturally appropriate way through their city plan,” he said.

“Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council’s planning scheme is another good example of a culturally appropriate plan, in this case specifying where cultural tourist activities should be located to ensure established and ongoing benefit to the community.”

In addition to the guidance material, the Queensland Government has also partnered with the Planning Institute of Australia and Ethos Urban to roll out a training program to support planners in Queensland.

Planning Institute of Australia Queensland Executive Officer Richard Moore said the guide was an excellent step forward to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, culture and tradition becomes part of land use planning in Queensland.

“As an industry we need to make sure we are consultative and planning with Traditional Owners to ensure their knowledge, culture and tradition is given the relevant land use planning protections,” Mr Moore said.

“That’s why, together with Ethos Urban, we will be rolling out a training program for the industry to ensure this becomes normal practice for land use planning.”

Advancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interests in land use planning – Guidance for local governments is accompanied by a factsheet providing an overview of the relationship between land use planning, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage and native title.

Both can be accessed via the Queensland Government’s Better Planning website.

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