In June 2004, the State of Victoria and Yorta Yorta Nations Aboriginal Corporation signed off on a landmark co-operative Land management agreement.
The Agreement was reached outside the native title process and serves to create a forum for the Yorta Yorta peoples to co-manage with the State of Victoria parts of Yorta Yorta country, referred to in the Agreement as the ‘Designated Areas‘.
To commemorate the Agreement, a declaration was signed by YYNAC and the Victorian Attorney General, Rob Hulls, on 10 June 2004. It reads, in part:
The State [of Victoria] recognises that the Yorta Yorta Peoples are the traditional owners of and have a unique inherent relationship with and responsibility to their country … In accordance with this recognition, the State will ensure the ongoing important role of the Yorta Yorta Peoples in land and water management decision making relating to the protection, management and sustainability of their country, including cultural and environmental values.
The key objectives of the agreement are to facilitate:
- The active and resourced (in accordance with Schedule 4) involvement of the Yorta Yorta People in decisions about the management of the Designated Areas including the integration of Yorta Yorta knowledge, internal decision-making processes and perspectives into management planning and works programming;
- The development of mutual recognition and trust between the Yorta Yorta People and the State; and
- The identification and promotion of employment, training and economic development opportunities for the Yorta Yorta People.