Engaging Aboriginal people in Land Use Planning

Why is this important?

Community participation in land use planning provides councils with valuable local knowledge that can provide practical insight to inform planning decisions. Aboriginal people can provide unique insight into land use planning processes.

Local Aboriginal people will have diverse interests in land use planning, ranging from heritage to contemporary interests. Aboriginal people can also bring a perspective that can enrich land use planning outcomes.

Councils can promote inclusive engagement processes to ensure diverse interests are heard and play a role in shaping local spaces.

What can your council do?

To engage Aboriginal people in Land Use Planning, councils can:

  • Develop engagement plans to encourage Aboriginal people to participate in land use planning processes.
  • Work with Traditional Owners on the protection and management of cultural heritage.
  • Liaise with Registered Aboriginal Parties and the Aboriginal community during the development of planning schemes.
  • Support Aboriginal community initiatives that seek to improve local land uses and increase Aboriginal community inclusion.
  • Read up on Aboriginal place naming in Victoria protocols and guidelines.


The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that many councils incorporate Aboriginal views in planning or infrastructure projects, and in protecting significant Aboriginal cultural heritage places through local planning schemes.


A event for Reconnecting the songlines: the rejuvenation of the Aboriginal cultural landscape of Nillumbik

An event for Reconnecting the songlines: the
rejuvenation of the Aboriginal cultural landscape
of Nillumbik

Last Updated: December 9, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Case study

Panton Hill Bushland Reserve System in Nillumbik Shire Council form part of the living landscape of the Wurundjeri people and provides an authentic environment in which to understand the deeper significance of Aboriginal cultural heritage and ongoing connection to, and care for Country.  Elders and Nillumbik Shire Council have been working with many partners toward reconciliation through an Aboriginal cultural heritage project ‘Reconnecting the Songlines: The rejuvenation of the Aboriginal cultural landscape of Nillumbik’.

The development of a rich cultural education trail through the reserve system will integrate with other Aboriginal cultural programs and sites across the Shire to form a comprehensive, cultural education tool. These trails will provide educational opportunities and cultural awareness programs for schools, the local community and the public.

Community have enjoyed immersive experiences on Country through Aboriginal cultural activities, stories, dancing, and yarning around a campfire through several events and celebrations, including the Spirit of Place Indigenous Festival at St Andrews market. The cultural trails and special sites being developed throughout the reserves will be a place for ongoing creative exchange between artists, ecologists; local Aboriginal people and the community. By encouraging this positive cultural exchange, partners hope to build on initiatives already achieved and continue to establish real and practical reconciliation outcomes.  Through a deeper appreciation of place the community can be inspired to care for the natural and cultural environment for generations to come.

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