Speak up for First Nations cultural heritage

The Barmah National Park is Yorta Yorta country.

But feral horses pose a serious threat to Aboriginal cultural heritage and the ecological health of the Barmah Forest and wetlands.

During recent flood events, Victorian government agencies and pro-feral horse organisations dumped hay across the Barmah National Park to feed feral horses – including at sites containing known Aboriginal heritage, and without consulting Yorta Yorta Traditional Owners.

The hay dump has contributed to significant damage to protected Aboriginal heritage sites and ecosystems in the Barmah Forest.

Our government, and agencies like Parks Victoria, are supposed to protect our national parks and Aboriginal heritage sites. This means managing invasive species and protecting and regenerating ecosystems – and importantly, listening to Yorta Yorta Traditional Owners.

That’s why we’re representing Yorta Yorta and calling on Parks Victoria and the Environment Minister to

  • Immediately investigate the damage caused in Barmah Forest
  • Commit to a joint review of emergency responses, and
  • Continue to implement the joint management plan between Parks Victoria and the Yorta Yorta people.

In the hands of Traditional Custodians, Country and Culture in the Barmah will thrive.

Yorta Yorta knowledge and leadership is vital if we are to protect the Barmah National Park, the endangered plants and animals that live within it, and the irreplaceable cultural heritage it contains.

Will you send a quick email calling for urgent action to protect irreplaceable cultural heritage in Barmah National Park?

We’ve started an email draft for you – but the most impactful emails are ones that are personal and unique.
  • Remember to introduce yourself and why you care about this issue.
  • If you’d like to include extra information, we’ve provided some below.

Background information

  • The Barmah Forest is Yorta Yorta country, lived on and cared for by Traditional Owners since time immemorial.
  • The National Park includes internationally significant Ramsar Wetlands
  • It’s home to the largest river red gum forest in the world.
  • Yorta Yorta country includes land and water within the Barmah Forest and extends across the Victorian and New South Wales’ border
Invasive species
  • Invasive species pose significant threats to Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, and weaken the health of ecosystems.
  • Feral horse are the most damaging threat to the Barmah National Park.
  • There are an estimated 500 feral horses in the Barmah National Park after their numbers have increased across several decades.
  • Under the joint management plan that exists between Yorta Yorta and the Victorian Government, removing feral horses is a key action to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage and regenerate damaged ecosystems.

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