18.2 C
Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

NPWS cancels meeting with traditional owners over hazard reduction burn

Latest News

Mullumbimby railway station burns down

At around midnight last night, a fire started which engulfed the old Mullumbimby railway station. It's been twenty years since the last train came through, but the building has been an important community hub, providing office space for a number of organisations, including COREM, Mullum Music Festival and Social Futures.

Other News

Free healthy lifestyle program for families

Go4Fun is a free 10-week after-school program for children aged 7-13 and their families, which aims to support their health and wellbeing.

Getting ready for the 24/25 bush fire season

With this year’s official NSW Bush Fire Danger Period closing on March 21, our thoughts are now turned toward to 2024-25 season and Essential Energy has begun surveying its powerlines in and around the North Coast region.

Wallum urban development back in court

The company behind the Wallum housing development in Brunswick Heads is once again taking Byron Council to court, this time for allegedly holding up its planned earthworks at the site in an unlawful manner.

Bruns Holistic Dental Centre closed

Longterm employee and senior dentist, Dr Roy Gamma, has described the closure of Brunswick Holistic Dental Centre (BHDC) as devastating.

Teenager arrested following an alleged stabbing

A teenager remains in police custody following an alleged stabbing at a church in Sydney’s south-west overnight.

Shame Mullum RSL

For those that do not know, RSL stands for Returned and Services League Australia. An independent support organisation for...

Billinudgel Nature Reserve where the hazard reduction burn is planned by National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Local Minjungbal Indigenous leaders are asking the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to consult with them over a planned hazard reduction burn at Billinudgel Nature Reserve but a scheduled meeting was cancelled by NPWS.

The hazard reduction burn was originally scheduled for the Billinudgel Nature Reserve on 3 June with neighbours being informed by letter on 2 June.

‘We got notification that Billinudgel was going to have a hazard reduction burn which gave me time to get in touch with NPWS to discuss some options and ask them to sit down with traditional owners to look at cultural issues in the reserve,’ said Rachael Cavanagh, a Minjungbal woman and traditional owner that covers the Billinudgel Nature Reserve.

Rachael said a meeting was originally set up but was then cancelled by the NPWS who said that they would only speak to the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council (TB ALC).

‘They are not the traditional owners,’ Rachael pointed out. ‘Everyone deserves a voice. We are on the Native Title claim for the Five Rivers and the Tweed Bundjalung people. We are the traditional owners who hold the cultural knowledge on the land values. We still have fire law that has been continued in our family,’ she told The Echo.

Billinudgel Nature Reserve.

‘NPWS legislation states that they need to engage with traditional owners and knowledge holders. By their own legislation they are supposed to meet all registered parties.’

Rachael has been a fire fighter for 20 years with the Queensland National Parks and Forestry Corporation and is engaged with the Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation.

‘I am in a senior leadership team for National Fire Sticks Alliance. We support and build capacity with Ingenuous groups nationally to support cultural fire practices and traditional land management for people on country. We look at the whole picture.’

Having been denied the option to meet with NPWS Rachael told The Echo that their lawyer has now sent a letter to NPWS to seek a meeting between the traditional owners and NPWS in relation to the burn.

‘Pretty much our family are fighting to be at the table and be part the discussion,’ she said.

‘They are planning to for a 70 per cent hazard reduction burn over two days which means it will be very hot, raging and overall health of the forest and the cultural values will be at risk, the understory will be and the canopy will be scorched, the animals will have nowhere to go to.

‘Regardless of whether it is Billinudgel or Cudgen. I will be fighting to have a say over the management of Minyungbal Country.’

‘Regardless of whether it is Billinudgel or Cudgen. I will be fighting to have a seat at the table.’

Billinudgel Nature Reserve.

Local support

Local residents have also joined the call for NPWS to engage with the traditional owners.

‘There is an immediate opportunity to implement Cultural Burns in the Byron Shire at Billinudgel Nature Reserve, however, NPWS are refusing to meet with Traditional Owners. This is against the NPWS own protocol that requires all government agencies to notify and consult with registered Traditional Owners, Knowledge Holders and Aboriginal Land Councils about any development or practice that may impact their cultural lands or values. This register is held by the NPWS, who are legally responsible for the protection of cultural heritage,’ local resident Megan Edwards told The Echo.

‘This is not just about protecting cultural sites, this is about changing fire management practices to be culturally informed and led. Something that people across the country have been crying out for since the catastrophic Black Summer bushfires.’

♦ NPWS have been contacted for comment.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

3 COMMENTS

  1. You burn the grass, you don’t burn the trees. Burning the grass causes a fire break and protects the animals, birds and insects. Where is the grass in the picture?

  2. Rachael has disqualified herself.
    Any person that has been a” fire fighter for 20 years with the Queensland National Parks and Forestry Corporation “has been brainwashed into believing the nonsense that’hazard reduction burning’ will have any beneficial effect on the environment nor prevent catestrophic fires caused by carbon pollution and resultant global warming.
    Cheers, G”)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Flood insurance inquiry’s North Coast hearings 

A public hearing into insurers’ responses to the 2022 flood was held in Lismore last Thursday, with one local insurance brokerage business owner describing the compact that exists between insurers and society as ‘broken’. 

Getting ready for the 24/25 bush fire season

With this year’s official NSW Bush Fire Danger Period closing on March 21, our thoughts are now turned toward to 2024-25 season and Essential Energy has begun surveying its powerlines in and around the North Coast region.

Keeping watch on Tyalgum Road

Residents keen to stay up to date on the status of the temporary track at Tyalgum Road – particularly during significant rain events – are urged to sign up to a new SMS alert system launched by Tweed Shire Council.

Blaming Queensland again

I was astounded to read Mandy Nolan’s article ‘Why The Nude Beach Is A Wicked Problem’, in which she implied that it may largely...