Attached for your information is a copy of a joint statement developed between the Gariwerd Wimmera Reconciliation Network (GWRN), Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation and the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation in relation to rock climbing access in the Gariwerd landscape.
The Gariwerd Wimmera Reconciliation Network (GWRN) formed when a group of interested climbers came together informally in June and July last year based on the realisation that a critical conversation with Traditional Owners was not occurring. We felt this conversation was needed in light of rock climbing access disputes occurring in the Grampians National Park. We were aware that Traditional Owners were becoming increasingly frustrated, and that it was time critical to start a process of listening, learning and acknowledging any harm that may have resulted from recreational rock climbing.
Over the last few months, GWRN has been in discussion with the three Traditional Owner Corporations. These early meetings have focused on determining whether we can work together, and how we can do that, resulting in a shared sense that continuing conversations are worthwhile. We have agreed to initially focus our joint efforts on exploring issues related to climbing access, with the Network positioning itself as a conduit between Traditional Owners and the broader climbing community. All four parties hold hope that respectful relationships will create a platform to explore meaningful and enduring solutions to problems facing our communities.
The Network’s Facebook page was launched in late October 2019, and in January 2020 GWRN became incorporated. Current members are based in the Wimmera, Halls Gap area, Melbourne and other parts of regional Victoria. We are planning to develop a website to promote educational resources relevant to our local community, and, depending on funds and volunteer capacity, we hope to launch our site later this year. Once we have sorted out our internal processes and infrastructure we will be open for individuals to join to show their support for this project.
Presently, we are focussed on becoming a conduit between the climbing community and Traditional Owners to facilitate respectful conversations regarding the access issues.
This statement will be released on our Facebook page to Victorian climbing groups and relevant agencies. If you would like to discuss please contact us at email@example.com