University of Tasmania

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Establishing joint management processes and models for Tasmania's protected areas

posted on 2023-05-27, 11:04 authored by Lee, EJ
Tasmania is the last state or territory of Australia to make government policy regarding rights to power-sharing the management of protected areas, such as national parks and reserves. For this thesis, power-sharing will be an arrangement primarily between the Tasmanian Government and trouwunnan peoples, who comprise Tasmania's Indigenous population. I am trouwunnan, a trawlwulwuy woman from tebrakunna country, therefore I bring an emic perspective to this body of work. In Australia, these rights to share power with governments over protected areas are denoted as 'joint management' and encompass responsibilities to be devolved under remittance of local communities, ranging from employment of rangers to setting visions for plans of management. Joint management is both a form of redress towards colonising injustices and a means of broadening the sphere of devolved responsibilities. Such devolution, if well-designed, can increase governance transparency and encourage new economies through the conservation, and sustainable use, of natural and cultural resources. The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), or TWWHA country, has been used as a real-time case study to investigate the development of, and advocacy for, trouwunnan frameworks for good governance under joint management. A central consideration has been to examine the extent to which trouwunnan worldviews have influenced the models and processes underpinning the new TWWHA country plan of management. To this end, I have analysed the structure of trouwunnan governance modes and highlighted the friction our peoples encounter in majority, non-Indigenous decision-making settings. I also reflect on the historical, global drivers that have influenced Tasmania's protected area management regimes and contrast these influences with our worldviews. My analysis reveals the difficulties and benefits in marrying governance and management styles to promote best practice outcomes and values of TWWHA country. In negotiating the terms of joint management, trouwunnan have revealed a distinct characteristic of our demos within a protected area policy and legislative framework. This characteristic is legitimacy, which is derived from our worldviews that value reciprocity, equity and vitality in the governance relationships that define Tasmania's protected areas. Our legitimacy is a distinctive quality that can inform new policy agreements and, through the giving of kinship to non-Indigenous stakeholders, can provide a mechanism to enact reciprocal relationships for TWWHA country benefit. The outcome of articulating our legitimacy can, broadly, be translated into joint management as a process of ethical behaviours and a model of enduring relationships with government for successful agreements. To understand trouwunnan legitimacy is to grasp new meanings of how our governance structures operate, where family and Elders becomes the core unit for engaging in joint management devolution responsibilities. I posit that family and Elders are critical to the good governance of TWWHA country as they mediate the lived experiences of trouwunnan, both past and present, and inform how these experiences can render the benefits of power-sharing of TWWHA country. I introduce novel Indigenous methodologies and approaches that have guided and influenced the crafting of the new plan of management for TWWHA country. These methodologies are both tangible, such as the construction of a bark canoe as a means of engaging trouwunnan in the drafting process of the new plan of management, and intangible, where a re-examination of historical documents relating to the first contact moments between French explorers and our women reveals unexpected theoretical applications. The approaches used to guide the experience of participation are based upon historical agreements between trouwunnan and the Tasmanian Government that lends integrity to the proceedings of drafting the new plan of management. These tools have assisted in creating a framework that shifts trouwunnan from marginal and exiled peoples to a core and legitimate partner in power-sharing over management of TWWHA country. This dissertation comprises sections of previously published publications. However, it is an original body of work, as these publications have been a rehearsal to the main event of finding my thesis voice. Most of these publications have been written from a third person narrative, an alienating experience that implicitly gives power and status to non-Indigenous academies. Therefore, to reinforce the importance of trouwunnan worldviews, governance and legitimacy, I centrally locate our peoples, referring to 'us', 'ours' and 'trouwunnan' throughout the text, as powerful agents that can shape the nature of joint management. This methodology further reinforces the strength of trouwunnan contributions to become a banner force in reimagining Tasmania's protected areas.


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Copyright 2017 the author. Not be displayed for public viewing or open access, except for the abstract, due to the indigenous intellectual property issues herein. Access to the modified thesis is granted at the authors discretion.

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