Relationships with Registered Aboriginal Parties

Why is this important?

The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (the Act) recognises that Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) represent Aboriginal people for the management and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

RAP responsibilities include approving Cultural Heritage Management Plans (CHMPs), advising on applications for Cultural Heritage Permits (CHPs), entering into Cultural Heritage Agreements and applying to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs for interim or ongoing Protection Declarations. (Read more – visit the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council website).

Council’s role in protecting and conserving places of Aboriginal cultural heritage significance, and in promoting community awareness of Aboriginal history and cultural heritage can only be achieved through effective relationships with RAPs. To learn more about Registered Aboriginal Parties and how to work with them, click here.


What can your council do?

Relationships between RAPs and local government can be strengthened by:

  • Developing a local government engagement agreement
  • Inviting Traditional Owners to council events and activities
  • Establishing Land Management Agreements with RAPs
  • Formalising the involvement of RAPs in council structures and decision making processes that impact on land and heritage
  • Liaising with RAPs during the development of planning schemes
  • Supporting Aboriginal participation in the management of public parks and places.


The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that 36 councils had worked with RAPs or Traditional Owners on the protection works of significant Aboriginal cultural heritage places, culturally sensitive areas, and on distributing information about obligations under the Act.

Last Updated: April 12, 2021 at 2:10 pm


Recognising traditional custodians

East Gippsland Shire Council

Through a short film ‘Our Commitment to Reconciliation’, East Gippsland Shire Council is able to connect their staff and the wider community with the history and culture of the traditional custodians of the land encompassing East Gippsland Shire – the Gunaikurnai, Monero and Bidawel Peoples.

The film production engaged and featured local Aboriginal people, organisations and landmarks. In particular, Aunty Doris Paton, Rod Hudson, The Krowathunkoolong Keeping Place and Gratten Mullett, GlaWAC. 

The film is easy to access online, allowing it to be used in a flexible training delivery model which has already been rolled out to major organisations with further distribution to follow.

Through valuable tools like this, council aims to embed cultural change and increase mutual understanding and effective partnerships. The project is assisting council staff and staff within other local organisations to increase their knowledge of local history and  acknowledge and respect local Aboriginal communities and culture.




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