Policy Matters

GLaWAC has a responsibility to get the Gunaikurnai voice heard and included in government decision making. Your voice is important and we encourage you to have your say by getting involved in one of our Board sub-committees or reference groups, and share your knowledge on our journey to self-determination.


Gunaikurnai have a cultural obligation to look after Country, though we understand that we currently have to work within the white fella laws of land management.

GLaWAC are working to influence policy areas that manage forests and make sure government know how our members want forests managed in the future.

Both Parks Victoria and DELWP are working on draft plans for how they want to manage forests and parks for the next 15-30 years.

We’ve been talking directly to Parks and DELWP, and they both want to come and hear what the Gunaikurnai community have to say about forests and parks on your Country.

The Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations has also been developing a Cultural Landscape Strategy that we’ve had some input on.

We encourage all members to get involved in one of our sub-committees or reference groups, and come along to yarning sessions and on Country visits to share your knowledge and make your voice heard about these important matters.


Our commuinity was in the thick of the devastation of the fires in Gippsland, from fighting on the fire fronts, to protecting our assets and cultural heritage at Forestec, to helping each other heal in the aftermath.

Our three priorities are Fire response, Fire recovery and Healing Country.

With bushfire recovery projects up and running, we’re starting to yarn about ways to heal Country and community.

GLaWAC’s approved governance structure on how we will have a strong Voice into Government regarding Fire Recovery and future Country Management. Here are some key updates on where we are in the fire space.

First Principles Review

GLaWAC is working with other Traditional Owners and the state in reviewing the components of Traditional Owners Settlement Act. This is separate to the review of the Gunaikurnai Settlement Agreement which our Elders and Board have commenced and has been previously shared in our members magazine.

Forest Cultural Values and Uses

Our people have deep knowledge of, and an inherent responsibility to look after Country. We take only what we need and know to leave some for others.

GLaWAC is exploring how best to communicate cultural values and uses to State Government so Gunaikurnai priorities are fully considered in forest management decision making.

Community sharing knowledge about plants with cultural values and uses, and being able to monitor plants of cultural significance is a way to yarn about the health of cultural landscapes being impacted by changes in the way land is currently being used.


Gunaikurnai need access to water to restore customary practices, protect cultural values and uses and ownership for self determination. To pave the way to self determination, how water is shared and managed by Government needs to change.

GLaWAC is working alongside DELWP on a number of projects, including how to plan for and share water in the future (Sustainable Water Strategy), and both cultural values and uses and water for economic development, under the State Government Aboriginal Water Policy.

GLaWAC has been yarning a fair bit over the last couple of years about water and we want to hear your ideas.

If you want to be involved in the Water Knowledge Holder Group and share your views about how water is managed on your Country, please fill out the form above and GLaWAC will get in touch.

How to have a say

If you would like to provide input, share knowledge on these matters, or if you are interested in joining one of our Board sub-committees or reference groups, please send us a message using the form below.

Fingerboards Mineral Sands Mine

GLaWAC, supported by GEGAC, convened community meetings in March 2019 to ensure the mining company had received our views. We also heard answers from State Government and Kalbar regarding the proposal. The Q&A sessions that came out of this meeting are available here along with the process presentation that was delivered by government.

Our key positions are contained in the interim position statement endorsed by the GLaWAC Board, and in summary, reflects the Traditional Owners beliefs. Kalbar have offered further onsite briefings with Elders and Community however due to COVID have been unable to action at this stage.

GLaWAC are not comfortable with this mine progressing, however, if the government decides it will go ahead, GLaWAC will ensure appropriate compensation, employment and future management opportunities for the site are made available to Traditional Owners.

Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy

Recently, the Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy (LVRRS) and the Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Water Study have sought public feedback on proposals on how to rehabilitate the mine pits, and the region, as the coal mines close.

GLaWAC has made submissions to express our views on behalf of our members. The most recent submission (below) was in response to questions and answers posed by the Government.