A move by the state government to better utilise Aboriginal cultural burning practices has been welcomed as "better late than never" by the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania but the organisation says the land would be best managed if handed back to Aboriginal people.
Premier Will Hodgman announced on Monday the government would be committing three new specialist Aboriginal positions within the Parks and Wildlife Service to further strengthen the understanding and practice of land management and cultural burning methods.
"The government will also invite Aboriginal representation on the Statewide Fuel Reduction Steering Committee, to provide expert advice on fire management practices and to further assist agencies to learn from and utilise traditional management techniques," Mr Hodgman said.
"We will also establish a pilot Grants Program with $100,000 available to support Tasmanian Aboriginal communities to engage in cultural burning practices within their local community area.
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"As our nation suffers from devastating bushfires, we should draw on the deep connection Tasmanian Aboriginals have with the land and share this knowledge in improved land management practices, to help reduce the impact of wildfires in our community."
ALCT chairman Michael Mansell said, while it was good the government was making some moves in recognising Aboriginal knowledge about looking after the bush, it would be preferable for the land to be handed back to Aboriginal people so they could look after it themselves.
"There's no reason why Aboriginal expertise has to be channeled through a government department," Mr Mansell said.
"If the government, for example, returned the Crown lands in Tasmania that would employ 20 Aboriginal people directly to, not only look after the land, but encourage tourist and other visitors in a sustainable way to visit the land and understand its values.
"If they handed the land back we could directly employ those three people plus more people to work with the Tasmanian Fire Service and PWS and show them our history and knowledge and how to prevent these major fires."
Mr Mansell said neither the ALCT or the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre were consulted before the announcement.
"They are coming out with these statements without consulting anybody," he said.
"I guess it's better late than never but still the government is still not listening to Aboriginal people.
"All the Premier had to do was ring up the Land Council or the TAC and we would have said we are behind the move provided [the government] return the land to Aboriginal people and those three people be employed directly."