Biamanga National Park Lease Agreement

Category: Agreement
Date: 1 December 2005
Sub Category:Lease
Location:Biamanga National Park, New South Wales, Australia
Subject Matter:Environmental Heritage | Land Transaction
URL: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/biamanga_gulaga_handback
Summary Information:
The lands comprising Biamanga and Gulaga National Parks lie within Yuin (Djuwin) country on the southern coast of New South Wales. They hold great significance for Yuin people. Although they are separate National Parks, Biamanga and Gulaga form part of one continuous 'cultural landscape'. Inalienable freehold title to those places was handed back to the Yuin people in 2005. Simultaneously with the vesting of freehold title, the Parks were rededicated back to the NSW Minister for the Environment under leases lasting 30 years. The deeds were signed by the Minister and the traditional owners, represented by their Local Aboriginal Land Councils. The Biamanga lease was signed on behalf of the Aboriginal Owners by the Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council. The lease of both parks was negotiated jointly over a two-year period.

The lease agreement provides for a Board of Management for the Biamanga National Park, with majority Aboriginal Owner membership. The Park remains part of the conservation estate of the State of New South Wales but will be controlled, managed and cared for by the Board of Management.

The leases will provide Aboriginal Owners with financial benefits in the form of rent, as well as increased involvement in management of the land and cultural heritage.
Detailed Information:

Overview of the Lease

Scope, Duration and Variations of the Lease (Articles 1-5)
The term of the lease is for 30 years. The lease may be renewed if consent is obtained from the Land Councils and the Minister. The process for renewing the lease must be begun no less than five years before its expiry. The lease does not purport to vary, expand, extinguish or in any way interfere with any Native Title rights that may exist in relation to the land. In accordance with section 71AH of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW) (the Act), the terms of the lease must be reviewed every five years by the Director-General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service on behalf of the Minister, the Aboriginal Land Councils and the Aboriginal Owner members of the Board of Management. Any amendment to the lease must occur with consultation and the assent of those relevant parties.

Rent and Board Establishment Costs (Article 6)
The Minister is to pay AUD$210,000 per annum, subject to review and variation in accordance with the Lease agreement, as well as making contributions towards the cost of establishing the Board in its initial two years. Rent is not paid to the Local Aboriginal Land Councils which represent the Aboriginal Owners, but is to be spent by the Board of Management as provided under the Lease agreement. The Board of Management must spend rental monies in accordance with section 139(5) of the Act or for the purposes of 'Community Development' or acquisition of land for addition to the Lands or with the approval of the Minister.

The Board of Management (Article 10)
The care, control and management of the Lands are to be vested in the Board. The Board will be composed of 13 members, and quorum can only be reached if the majority of members present are Aboriginal Owner members.

Employment, Contracting and Training (Article 11)
A number of preexisting 'Aboriginal specific' positions with the National Parks and Wildlife Service will be retained in relation to management and care of the Lands. Two preexisting Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Officers will be involved in management of Biamanga and Gulaga Lands if needed. The Minister will consider making other jobs 'Aboriginal specific' and prescribing that employment criteria should include knowledge of cultural heritage. The Minister undertakes to use the Minister's 'best endeavours' to implement the existing 'Aboriginal Employment Development Strategy'.

Joint Management Coordinator (Article 12)
The person who occupies the existing position of 'Aboriginal Project Officer' will be made the 'Joint Management Coordinator'. He or she will work with the Board to ensure that effect is given to decisions of the Board regarding care, control and management of the Lands.

Land Management Principles and Issues (Article 13)
Covers various issues of heritage management, transfer of Aboriginal cultural items, Aboriginal hunting and fishing rights, cooperation and land management.

Planning (Article 14)
The Board must start to prepare a 'Plan of Management' not more than 12 months from the date of execution of the lease. There will be a joint plan for both Biamanga and Gulaga National Parks because of their cultural and geographical proximity.

World Heritage, National Heritage, Wilderness Declarations Issues (Article 16)
If the Lands become subject to World Heritage Listing, any requirements in relation to this must be complied with by the parties, as with National Heritage listing and Wilderness Declarations.

Dispute Resoulution (Article 17)
Provides a formal process for dispute resolution.

Related Entries

Agreement
  • Gulaga National Park Lease Agreement
  • Biamanga and Gulaga National Parks Land Transfer
  • Organisation
  • Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council - Signatory
  • Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council - Signatory
  • Legislation
  • National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW)
  • People
  • Minister for the Environment (New South Wales) - Signatory
  • Yuin People

  • References

    Article
    Jessica Weir (2000) 'Aboriginal Land Ownership and Joint Management of National Parks in New South Wales'

    Glossary

    Lease