The Aboriginal hazard matrix

The Boyer Lecture from Melbourne Uni chair of Australian indigenous studies Marcia Langton, suggesting Tim Flannery, the Greens etc. don’t trust aboriginals to manage land was a bit ironic, given the SMH also reports on the NSW Land Council’s proposal to explore for coal seam gas under 40% of the state.

One area where Prof Langton’s argument falls down is trying to link biodiversity with areas of land, as if all areas of land had or have similar biodiversity. The idea behind reserving areas of land comes from the fact that, at a state level, it’s easier than trying to get the agencies to implement ESFM.

In that regard I’ve put some comments in on the Local Land Service boundaries and the Catchment Action Plan, among other things questioning whether talk about adaptive management is serious, in part because like the EPA’s water pollution hazard matrix and the draft Australian Forestry Standard, the fundamental units to measure biodiversity, catchments and soils, are not adequately considered.

Throw koalas into this mix and things get harder for the state government so it seems likely that they will be looking for an easy way out, without upsetting the RFAs too much. One option is to increase the area of Biamanga Aboriginal Place – a Minister’s pen stroke – such that areas currently in state forest are under aboriginal management, as an aid to aboriginal economic independence.

However there could be problems if,  for example,  a management plan for Biamanga NP, due last June, was finally produced and found to be inadequate. No other outcome seems likely and after some prompting, greens councilor Keith Hughes has corrected my recent suggestion, that he represents environmental interests, in particular the Nature Conservation Council, on the Biamanga Management Board.

Curiously, given BMB representation is referred to on the NCC website, there is no provision for conservation representation on the BMB, only Local Land councils and a local government councilor but, it’s good to finally confirm who all the key stakeholders are and be aware of their opinions


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