How to contact Reef Traditional Owners

The Authority recognises that establishing an effective and meaningful partnership with Traditional Owners is essential to protecting cultural and heritage values, conserving biodiversity and enhancing the resilience of the Reef.

Traditional Owners have inherent rights and responsibilities for caring for their Land and Sea Country, which includes those who enter it. There are often cultural protocols that need to be respected for significant cultural areas. Through a collaborative and cooperative approach this can be managed by contacting the appropriate Traditional Owners for the area of Sea Country in which you are operating and discussing your activities with them.

The Authority’s Traditional Owner Heritage Assessment Guidelines outline the rich cultural heritage of the Marine Park, how activities may impact on this heritage, and how to engage with the culturally appropriate saltwater Traditional Owners to minimise this impact.

How to contact

It is important that that you contact the culturally appropriate clan group who speaks for that area of Sea Country. The Authority suggests working through this process:

  • If the Traditional Owners for the Sea Country are known, make contact with their appropriate representative organisation. Most organisations have a website with their current contact details.
  • If the Traditional Owners for the Sea Country are not known, make contact with the Native Title Representative Body nearest to the location of your permitted activity. Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements provide another source of Traditional Owners contact details.

Contacting relevant saltwater Traditional Owners must be carried out in a respectful manner that acknowledges there may be strong cultural connections to the area of your activities. If there is more than one Traditional Owner clan group that has connections to that area, all groups should be contacted.

Information for permit holders

The Authority strongly encourages all permit holders to contact Traditional Owners for the areas they are operating in, and where appropriate, work with Traditional Owners to help ensure the best outcomes for the management of the marine parks.

Once you have made contact, inform the person you are speaking to that you have or are seeking a permit to operate in the marine parks and you are seeking advice on who the Sea Country Traditional Owners are for the area of your activity.

Traditional Owners will be interested in the type of activity and the specific areas where the activity will be conducted to ensure their cultural heritage values are not negatively impacted by your activity. They may also be interested in opportunities to support or add value to your activities.

More information on Traditional Owners’ connections to Sea Country, the rich cultural heritage of the Marine Park, and links to best practice resources to assist with engagement can be found in the Traditional Owner Heritage Assessment Guidelines. Specific detailed guidance for the Great Keppel region is contained in the Woppaburra Heritage Assessment Guidelines. Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements organisations can be found on our TUMRA webpage.