Oliver Costello is a Bundjalung man from the Northern Rivers of NSW, with a diverse range of personal and professional expertise in culturally connected stewardship of Country. He is an Indigenous land and fire management consultant and works across the public, private, academic and not-for-profit sectors in various roles and appointments to support Aboriginal cultural land management. He is currently focused on First Nations knowledge and practice in caring for Country through regenerative cultural practices that support preparedness, recovery and resilience in relation to fire, floods and storms.
Oliver was an Indigenous Contributing Author on the Extreme Events Chapter for 2021 State of Environment Report. He authored buubaan butherun (Flood Stories), which was commissioned by the NSW flood Inquiry (2022) and formed the basis for the key recommendation for Environment in the report. He has extensive experience working within the Indigenous land and sea management, conservation and cultural heritage management sectors and is particularly interested in empowering Aboriginal perspectives on fire, threatened and culturally significant species. Oliver is a Director on the National Koala Recovery Board and Co-Chair of the Koala Recovery Team First Nations Reference Group.
Oliver set up the Firesticks initiative in 2009 and was a founding Director of the Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation in 2018. He currently serves as a director of the Jagun Alliance Aboriginal Corporation and is the Vice President of the Northern Rivers Fire and Biodiversity Consortium. Oliver also sits on the board of Natural Hazards Research Australia, is a member of its Reconciliation Working Group, and is currently involved in the NHRA research project: ‘Cultural land management research and governance in south-east Australia’ and was lead author of the 2021 report, ‘Cultural Land Management in Southeast Australia: Developing the foundation for an Indigenous-led and codesigned research program for land management with Traditional Owners’, published by the Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre. NHRA also just published a fact sheet stemming from these projects, ‘Principles and protocols for cultural land management governance and research’, to guide more ethical and collaborative cultural land management research.
Read Oliver Costello's interview with Shantell Weathterall for the Rare with Google 2020 publication here.