First Nations peoples strategically burning land in a practice known as cool burning (Image: AAP/EPA/Matthew Abbott/Amber Bracken/World Press Photo Foundation)
First Nations peoples strategically burning land in a practice known as cool burning (Image: AAP/EPA/Matthew Abbott/Amber Bracken/World Press Photo Foundation)

We learn little we didn’t already know about the dismal deterioration of the nation's natural world from the state of the environment report released today by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek.

But it does conclude that we have much to learn from First Nations peoples. The sixth report in the series puts it bluntly: “The environment is poorer because of the lack of Indigenous leadership, knowledge and management.”

But in practical terms, how does that happen? Walbunga man and chair of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council Danny Chapman told Crikey that the Indigenous community can assist in a major way caring for country but has long been encumbered by government ignorance and red tape.