AN ANCIENT indigenous aquaculture system, the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, has been formally recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Located in the south-west along the Great Ocean Road, Budj Bim is the first Australian World Heritage property to be listed exclusively for its Aboriginal cultural values.
For thousands of years, Gunditjmara people engineered and built an extensive and highly sophisticated aquaculture system along the Mt Eccles/Tyrendarra lava flow and wetlands.
The systems are connected across nearly 100 square kilometres and were used to trap eels for food.
Alongside these systems, the Gunditjmara built roundhouses out of basalt stones with large numbers still visible in the landscape today.
Over the past five years the Gunditjmara people have worked closely with state and federal governments to develop the World Heritage nomination.
The Victorian Government has now committed $13 million to the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation to implement the Budj Bim Master Plan. The money will be used to support tourism infrastructure projects.
The goal is to advance Budj Bim as a world-class tourism destination while supporting self-determination for the Gunditjmara people.
It is hoped the site will attract more than 150,000 annual visitors within 10-25 years and in a way that does not negatively impact the area.