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26 October 2004
Australia's Indigenous landowners will have greater access to integrated land management services following the signing today of a landmark Memorandum of Understanding by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage and the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC).
The Department's Secretary David Borthwick and Chairperson of the ILC, Shirley McPherson said the agreement would develop a closer working relationship between the agencies, and offer opportunities for partnership on a variety of projects.
"Our environment can benefit greatly from the traditional knowledge applied by Indigenous Australians, and agencies must work together to provide the best possible information and services for them," Mr Borthwick said.
"My department and the ILC already collaborate on a number of programmes, including Indigenous Protected Area projects in each State and Territory including Guanaba (QLD), Yalata (SA), Wattleridge (NSW) and Dhimurru (NT)," Mr Borthwick said.
"The ILC also provides expert advice on Indigenous land matters through its Indigenous Protected Area Advisory Group member, and hosts two Indigenous Land Management Facilitators in Brisbane and Perth.
"The agreement signed today will enhance communication and understanding between our agencies so we can better serve Indigenous landowners around the country."
Ms McPherson praised the cooperative spirit of the agreement, and said it would set up a process through which DEH and the ILC could share information and plan future activities.
"The Memorandum of Understanding supports the ILC's role in assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to acquire and manage land in a way that provides cultural, social, environmental and economic benefits," Ms McPherson said.
"The agreement will see the ILC and DEH meeting regularly to review existing land management activities, working on strategies to improve services and developing new projects.
"This strengthened relationship will deliver better outcomes both for the land and its people."
The Memorandum of Understanding is consistent with the whole-of-government initiative to improve overall Indigenous service delivery. Departments have adopted this approach under the banner of the Council of Australian Governments (CoAG).
For further information on the agreement visit http://www.deh.gov.au/indigenous/publications/deh-ilc-mou.html