How EPA recognises Victorian Aboriginal people

EPA acknowledges Victorian Aboriginal people as the first peoples and Traditional custodians of the land and water on which we live, work and depend. We pay respect to Aboriginal Elders past and present.

As Victoria’s environmental regulator, we pay respect to how Country has been protected and cared for by Aboriginal people over many tens of thousands of years.

We acknowledge the unique spiritual and cultural significance of land, water and all that is in the environment to Aboriginal people and Traditional custodians. We recognise their intrinsic connection to and aspirations for Country.

About EPA’s Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan 2019-2022

In 2019, EPA commenced a 3 year Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan. The vision is to ensure:

  • EPA engages and works collaboratively with Aboriginal Victoria and Traditional Owners and custodians to achieve inclusive regulatory practices in a culturally safe work environment.
  • Victorian Aboriginal people, their environmental stewardship and culture is integral to EPA’s regulatory work in protecting human health and environment from the harmful effects of pollution and waste.

The objectives of the Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan are to:

  • build strong, ongoing and effective relationships with Victorian Aboriginal people and Traditional Owners and custodians.
  • increase understanding and respect across EPA for Aboriginal culture and people.
  • develop regulatory approaches that include Aboriginal people’s, Traditional Owners and custodians perspectives and values.
  • increase the number of Aboriginal people we employ, in a culturally safe and inclusive workplace.
  • build a robust framework for how we report on and measure our work to include Victorian Aboriginal people.

A program of work has been developed for 2020-21 which has the following priority areas:

  • Cultural competency. This recognises our need to ensure our staff understand Aboriginal cultural practices and knowledge and how this applies to our regulatory work at EPA.
  • Partnerships and engagement. We plan to strengthen our relationships with Traditional Owners and Victorian Aboriginal people and actively seek opportunities for collaboration in shared ways of protecting human health and the environment.
  • Inclusion within the Environment Reference Standards (ERS). We aim to review the ERS to ensure Traditional Owner values form part of Victoria’s environmental values.
  • Workforce inclusion. We will seek opportunities to improve Victorian Aboriginal people’s opportunities to join EPA’s workforce.

Reviewed 9 November 2020