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Supporting Aboriginal Self-Determination

The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) supports Traditional Owners’ rights on Country so that their aspirations for land, water and culture are realised.

Self-Determination is about choice. Traditional Owners have the right to make choices that best reflect them on their journey to self-determination and self-governance. This right must be respected.

Pupangarli Marnmarnepu is the strategy that guides all of DELWP for how we will work in partnership with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians to support their right to self-determination.

Pupangarli Marnmarnepu means ‘owning our future’, and is derived from the Tati Tati, Wadi Wadi and Mutti Mutti language groups of the Murray River First Nations.

The strategy outlines broad outcomes, indicators and measures that will inform yearly priorities. These priorities will be implemented in partnership with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians.

Victorian Traditional Owners have told DELWP that they want the government to:

  • remove barriers to self-determination
  • work in genuine partnership by transferring power back
  • become more accountable to Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians

Pupangarli Marnmarnepu is a chance for DELWP to help the State of Victoria undertake significant reform and make peace with its colonial history – to build a better future for all.

John Bradley DELWP Secretary

Land Use Victoria recognises that this is a work in progress on the journey to self-determination. We are proactively looking for ways to remove systemic barriers for Traditional Owners to practice their right to manage their Country.

Our plan

Land Use Victoria is working on a response to the Aboriginal Self-Determination Strategy by setting up structures and practices to embed Pupangarli Marmarnepu in our work.

Our response will include the development of initiatives and projects that will be part of the Implementation Action Plan 2021-22 for Pupangarli Marnmarnepu.

Recent initiatives


DELWP is supporting Traditional Owner organisations to manage Country through the use of geospatial tools.

Geospatial tools can enhance the recorded information about Country for Traditional Owner land management.

Data sovereignty:

  • Collaborated with the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation in a ‘world-first’ opportunity to map and visualise the natural and man-made landscape over Budj Bim, using LiDAR remote sensing technology.
  • Full ownership of this data and spatial information was transferred over to the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation. Read more about the project.

Building skills and capacity:

Place naming:

Using language in place naming is a powerful expression of Traditional Owner connection to land.

Work by Geographic Names Victoria includes:

  • Facilitating Aboriginal-led place naming workshops
  • Strongly and actively encouraging naming authorities to consider and adopt local Traditional Owner names for new and existing roads, features and localities.
  • Providing guidance on how to engage with Traditional Owner Groups
  • Reviewing offensive and derogatory names across Victoria
  • Increasing membership of Aboriginal Victorians on the Geographic Place Names Advisory Panel.
  • Developing documentaries to highlight the importance of Aboriginal language, histories and connection to place. View documentaries in Aboriginal place naming – what we do.

Read more on how we are promoting engagement between communities, naming authorities and Traditional Owners in Aboriginal place naming.

Where to learn more

Page last updated: 11/07/23