Aboriginal Partnerships Program

What is the Aboriginal Partnerships Program?

The Aboriginal Partnerships Program aims to increase the participation of Aboriginal people in managing natural resources, improve awareness and understanding of Aboriginal culture, and protect Aboriginal heritage. The program works closely with a range of partner organisations to deliver activities across the region.

Increasing the participation of Aboriginal people

The Aboriginal Partnerships Program aims to increase the participation of Aboriginal people, groups and organisations in all levels of natural resources management – including high level strategic planning, on-ground implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

Working with Traditional Owners

The Aboriginal Partnerships Program works with Traditional Owners in the SAMDB region through the establishment of working groups such as the First Peoples NRM Working Group and the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority / Natural Resources SAMDB Working Group. The program also supports other formal engagement groups and committees such as the River Murray ILUA Liaison Committee, the Ngaut Ngaut Co-management Board and the Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnan Agreement Taskforce.

Aboriginal NRM training and employment projects

The Aboriginal Partnerships Program works with a range of Aboriginal, government and community group partners to support a range of Aboriginal training and employment projects across the region. These projects aim to build people’s skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience, and provide employment opportunities for Aboriginal people in NRM. These projects include:

  • Riverland Working on Country Project 
  • Riverland Aboriginal Learning on Country Project
  • Gerard Aboriginal Learning on Country Project
  • Murray Bridge Aboriginal Learning on Country Project
  • Monarto Zoo Aboriginal Learning on Country Project
  • Raukkan Aboriginal Learning on Country Project.

Riverland Working on Country 

Riverland Rangers Working on Country is a project based at Calperum Station that employs Aboriginal rangers to undertake land management activities and training. 

The project was recently evaluated using a technique called ‘Most Significant Change’. This technique was used to investigate the personal and social benefits of the project for the rangers, their families and the wider Riverland Aboriginal community. 

The results of the evaluation found the rangers have developed increased capacity, pride and confidence, their families have experienced an increased sense of pride and financial security, and the rangers have become positive role models within the wider Riverland Aboriginal community. 

Tours and workshops

The Aboriginal Partnerships Program supports workshops and tours with Aboriginal community members to provide opportunities for input into NRM projects and processes. A range of tours and workshops have been run focusing on topics such as pest control techniques, wetland management planning, environmental watering, mallee heritage issues and local community NRM group projects such as threatened species conservation.

Turtle project

A recent focus for the Aboriginal Partnerships Program has been engaging Aboriginal community members, groups and project teams in a large project focusing on River Murray turtles which includes community turtle mapping using the TurtleSAT [http://www.turtlesat.org.au/turtlesat/default.aspx] app.

Raising cultural awareness

The Aboriginal Partnerships Project aims to increase the awareness and understanding of Aboriginal culture. This is important to ensure natural resource managers can work effectively with Aboriginal people and groups, understand the importance of Aboriginal knowledge and involvement, and consider issues such as Aboriginal heritage protection when planning and implementing projects.

A range of activities are undertaken to increase awareness of Aboriginal culture and its links to NRM, including coordinating cultural awareness training which is delivered by Traditional Owners, cultural sessions with schools, and supporting other programs and projects to engage and work with Aboriginal people and groups.

Protecting Aboriginal heritage

Protecting Aboriginal heritage from NRM issues and activities is a key aspect of the Aboriginal Partnerships Program. This is done by ensuring all projects consider risks to Aboriginal heritage during the earliest stages of project planning, facilitating Aboriginal input into planning processes, and supporting staff to work with Traditional Owners to manage these risks. 

Aboriginal Partnerships Update newsletters

Regular Aboriginal Partnerships Update newsletters are produced to keep people informed of the program’s activities. Subscribe to the newsletter today.

Related links

Lead agency

Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin

Funding partners

This project is supported by the SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme and the Australian Government Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

National Landcare Program logo


The Riverland Working On Country Project is a partnership between the Australian Landscapes Trust and Natural Resources SAMDB and is supported by the SA Murray-Darling Basin NRM Board through funding from the Australian Government.


More information

  • Natural Resources Centre SA Murray-Darling Basin
    Wade Street, Berri, SA 5243
    08 8580 1800