A team from the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has consulted with local traditional owners about starting to properly care for country.
The EPA's Aboriginal Initiatives team is gathering knowledge to ameliorate their approach to environmental practices.
Councillor and Tubba-Gah traditional owner Lewis Burns took the team on a site tour of Talbragar and Troy Aboriginal Reserves in April. There was a meeting at Jinchilla where members of Cr Burns' family had the opportunity to address the team.
"I was able to get mum and my sister to have a yarn with them on the day they were here. They were filmed talking about life on the reserve and what we can do to care for country going forward," Cr Burns said.
He said the team liked their ideas and that there would be future consultation and workshops between Dubbo's Aboriginal people and the EPA. He said they would possibly look at doing some traditional burns.
"I was glad that [the EPA Aboriginal Initiatives team] were doing the right thing by contacting the traditional owners wherever they go, instead of just going to random Aboriginal people on the streets... which has happened in the past," he said.
Cr Burns said it was good that the EPA were doing research on how to care for country. He hoped that all information collected from the talks with traditional owners would go towards implementing programs.
"Hopefully it turns out to be a good project. It's too soon to tell," he said.
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Formed in May 2021, the EPA's Aboriginal Initiatives team has dedicated themselves to showcasing their commitment to Aboriginal people and cultures. Kylie Jacky, from Nyangbal Country of the Bundjalung nation, is the lead for Aboriginal Initiatives in the EPA .
"The trip to Dubbo is one of many that we're doing around the state to talk to local cultural knowledge holders around their views on how country is faring," she said.
Ms Jacky said her team aimed to record the aspects of country and culture that were doing well along with areas that needed improvement according to native title holders.
The most recent achievement of the team was including Aboriginal peoples' perspectives in the NSW State of the Environment report 2021. Ms Jacky said the report had never asked Aboriginal people for their unique perspective and that in the decades long history of the report, this had been a first.
"When we think about Aboriginal peoples... their custodian role, we're talking tens of thousands of years of generational cultures and knowledge handed down. And the report [had not] tapped into this ancient and wise knowledge base. It was a real... missed opportunity."