Is the Victorian Labor Government Serious about Reconciliation?

The government can follow the best scientific advice and recognise historical mistakes through ensuring a fundamental policy reset to ensure that dingoes, crucial to ecosystem stability and health, are protected and governed responsibly.

Or, it can continue with an inherited colonial bias, which sees dingoes mischaracterised as ‘invasive’ vermin to be killed for poison industry profit and to pander to irrational inherited prejudice within the farming sector.

The historical demonisation of the dingo has been closely associated with the onslaught on Indigenous identity and culture. The inherited anti-dingo mindset became entrenched as European colonisers rapaciously transformed an unfamiliar Australian environment for sheep grazing, with little understanding of, or concern for, Australian ecosystems and the indigenous people who lived within them and cared for them.”

However, in recent years, Indigenous Victorian groups have begun to demand the return of culturally significant native animals to their traditional lands, including the dingo.

In negotiating a joint management plan for the Gariwerd National Park (Grampians), a clear aspiration was voiced by the Indigenous communities involved for the reintroduction of culturally significant wildlife species that have been lost through colonisation. In this, the dingo figured prominently.

Yet, despite giving lip service to taking Indigenous aspirations seriously, the Victorian Labor government’s final Gariwerd management plan failed to include a positive agenda for reintroduction of the dingo – a slap in the face to the Indigenous groups involved.

In undermining the Indigenous aspiration for dingo reintroduction to the Gariwerd lands, to appease reactionary elements of the farming lobby, the Victorian Labor government has, in effect, attempted to enforce a politically expedient limit upon the legitimate cultural boundaries of indigenous aspirations and culture.

It is truly disappointing to see that the Victorian Labor government appears more at ease with pandering to the most backward 19th Century attitudes still found amongst some of the Victorian farming sector, than acting to correct environmental mismanagement and a grievous historical wrong to Indigenous Victorians.

Through excluding dingo reintroduction from the Greater Gariwerd Management Plan (for the next 15 years – which is code for burying the issue for good), serious doubt is now cast over the integrity of the Victorian Labor government’s broader Indigenous reconciliation agenda, including its Treaty process.

On election day, please vote Marilyn Nuske Independent Candidate BENDIGO WEST NO 1 to help me bring fundamental change for regional Victorians and for voiceless wildlife suffering cruelty and threats under the Andrews Government.

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