The Aboriginal people of the New South Wales southern Snowy Mountains will be formally involved in the conservation of Kosciuszko National Park, after reaching an agreement years in the making.

The following story comes from the ABC.

The NSW Government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Monaro Ngarigo people yesterday, solidifying the local Indigenous community’s role in preserving the park’s cultural value.

The area covered by the agreement stretches from Tolbar Road, near Lake Eucumbene south to the Victorian border.

Aunty Iris White said the agreement would ensure the Monaro Ngarigo people, many of whom no longer live on country, would have a say in how the park is managed.

“Ngarigo people, traditional people, haven’t lived on country for a long time,” she said.

“The MOU is really important, and probably more important to us because we don’t actually live on country.”

Agreement more than a decade in the making

Regional manager of the southern Snowy Ranges region Mick Pettit said the MOU created a committee which would represent Aboriginal people’s interests.

The committee will advise the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service on measures including fire and pest management, and tourism.

“We’ve got various groups who unfortunately don’t live on country … it’s very hard to get them together to talk about issues that are really important to us and really important to the community,” Mr Pettit said.

“That committee is actually elected by the Aboriginal community, so we will have the opportunity to formally meet with them and talk.

“[It] sets up a mechanism where we can meet, talk.”

Ms White said the involvement of Indigenous people in preserving the park had taken more than a decade to be formalised.

“Those of us that are my age, we were bringing our young children up here when we started the process, and now we have children that are bringing their children up here,” she said.

“So for many of us there are actually four generations here for this signing, and that’s something pretty special for all of us.”