A NSW Government website

Cultural Burn Program

Crown Lands is proud to announce the newly formed Cultural Burn Program.

This program aligns with the wider NSW Cultural Fire Strategy. The inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfires recommended the government adopt cultural burning as part of a broader cultural approach to land management that incorporates traditional Aboriginal land management practices.

The program facilitates and supports the Aboriginal community, including Traditional Owners and local Aboriginal land councils, to undertake cultural fire management practices on Crown land.

Cultural fire management is an ancient, safe and sustainable land management activity.

It is a practice implemented by Aboriginal people primarily for the purpose of maintaining and improving the health of Country, its people and kin.  

The program is supported by Aboriginal fire officers to empower the Aboriginal community to reach their aspirations.

Types of Cultural fire management practices: 

Cultural fire management includes both ‘cultural burning’ and ‘culturally informed burning’ – 2 distinct practices. 

Cultural burning’ is planned, led, directed and practiced by Aboriginal people with cultural knowledge of Country.

‘Culturally informed burning’ is undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal people and aims to be more respectful and inclusive of Aboriginal cultural knowledge and the health of Country. Culturally informed burns must be done in partnership with Aboriginal communities and Crown Lands and can involve other agencies.  While the objective may include hazard reduction there needs to be genuine engagement and involvement with the Aboriginal community connecting to country.

Aims of the program: 

  • Provide an opportunity for Aboriginal communities to further develop and enhance their skills in caring for Country, including opportunities to be reimbursed for their time and knowledge.
  • Traditional Owners partnering with the department across NSW to support and undertake cultural fire management.
  • Facilitate cultural fire management with the objective of getting Community out onto Country.  This contributes to wide ranging benefits.

Case studies

Cultural burn at Batemans Bay

In June of 2023, Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council led a cultural burn to nurture Country, support the renewal of culture and share knowledge with Crown Lands staff.

Culturally Informed Burn at Tumut 

The Brungle-Tumut Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) partnered with Crown Lands and undertook a culturally informed burn at Tumut. 

The planning and on-ground support from the NSW Rural Fire Service ensured the burn could be conducted on land that is in the process of being transferred to the Local Aboriginal Land Council’s ownership.

Contact

Aboriginal communities who want to discuss these fire practices on Crown land are encouraged to contact our Aboriginal fire officers for information and support.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 1300 886 235