Yorta Yorta plan to protect Barmah National Park

By Ashlea Witoslawski

In the hope of protecting, preserving and promoting Barmah National Park, the first draft management plan has been released for public comment. 

Developed by the Yorta Yorta Traditional Owner Land Management Board, the plan aims to establish all management directions for the park over the next 10 years. 

The strategies outlined within the draft plan aim to protect and restore the health of the park’s environmental heritage as well as support the cultural heritage of the park for sustainable recreation and tourism.

The draft plan also contains strategies for increasing the role and capacity of Yorta Yorta People in joint management.

The draft plan proposes a number of key changes, which include reaffirming Yorta Yorta as the First Nation People of Barmah, endorsing Parks Victoria’s proposals to remove feral horses from the park and control pigs, goats and weeds and developing the tourism attractiveness of the park in partnership with the Murray Regional Tourism through improved and new services and visitor experiences. 

Maintaining and improving camping opportunities including amenities and waste removal facilities along the Murray River will also be a priority, along with the establishment of a cultural and historic trail through the park suitable for vehicles, walkers and bicycling.

Yorta Yorta Traditional Owner Land Management Board chair Uncle Des Morgan said the release of the draft plan marked an important milestone in the history of the Yorta Yorta people.

"We have been excluded for generations from having any say on the management our Country," he said.

"Now, once again we can take up our ancestral rights and responsibilities to look after it.

"We extend our hand to everyone to come together and walk with us to nurture this important part of Country back to health."

The Yorta Yorta Traditional Owner Land Management Board was appointed in 2014 under agreement between the Victorian Government and the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation. 

Comprising both Yorta Yorta representatives as well as members of the broader community, the day-to-day management of the park is co-ordinated by Parks Victoria. 

The draft plan will be open for public comment until October 6.

Information and consultation sessions will be held in Shepparton on Monday, August 26,  from 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm, in Barmah on Friday, August 30, from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm and in Echuca on Tuesday, September 3, from 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm.

For more information, to view the draft plan or to make a submission, visit