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                                                                                                           OCTOBER 2009

                                                 Queensland’s NRM

                                                                                               From the Chair
Queensland’s Traditional Owners             engagement programs. A formalised          workplace. These visits have also been
have had a long and proud history           Murri Network, comprising these staff      an opportunity to meet with a broad
of managing the state’s diverse             has met three times since February         cross-section of Indigenous natural
landscapes and ecosystems over tens         2009, and includes representation          resource management stakeholders.
of thousands of years, so their active      from each of those natural resource
                                                                                       The Regional Groups Collective and
involvement in the natural resource         management regions in the State, as
                                                                                       its members are strongly committed
management sector comes as no               well as the Queensland and Australian
                                                                                       to ensuring that our Traditional
surprise.                                   Governments. As well as supporting
                                                                                       Owners have a powerful voice in
                                            these officers, the SINC project also
Queensland’s regional natural resource                                                 natural resource management in the
                                            supports regional bodies to improve
management groups engage with their                                                    state. I hope the stories in this report
                                            the way they interact with Indigenous
Traditional Owners in many ways, and                                                   give a good overview of some of the
                                            communities, through identifying policy,
this report showcases some of the                                                      work being undertaken by Traditional
                                            information and training needs, and
land and sea management programs                                                       Owners working on Country, and how
                                            supporting engagement processes.
being managed by our regional                                                          those projects are being supported
groups, in partnership with Indigenous      The Statewide Indigenous Network           by regional groups, government and
people from Far North to Southern           Coordinator, Patrick Mulalley, also acts   community partners.
Queensland. Across the state, these         as an information hub for regional
Traditional Owners are involved in          groups requiring support with
training and education programs,            Indigenous engagement. Queensland’s
coastal rehabilitation, wildlife surveys,   regional natural resource management
recording traditional knowledge, policy     bodies and the State Government have
and planning, advocacy, conservation,       shown commitment to ensuring the
and community development projects          Murri Network has support and that
that result in stronger communities and     there is representation for Indigenous
ecologically sustainable landscapes.        natural resource management at a
                                            strategic level. The RGC is currently
At a state level, the Queensland
                                            seeking alternative funding to maintain
Regional NRM Group’s Collective
                                            the Statewide Indigenous Network
manages the Statewide Indigenous
                                            Coordination project.
Network Coordination Project (SINC).
SINC aims to support a network of           During the last nine months, the SINC
Indigenous staff housed in regional         Coordinator has visited all but three                            Mike Berwick AM,
natural resource management                 of Queensland’s 14 regions to meet                 Chair Queensland Regional NRM
groups, and working on Indigenous           with Murri Network members in the                                Groups Collective
Queensland’s NRM

Fitzroy Basin: Preserving culture
and nature at ‘Gawula’
GPS training for indigenous land           the traditional country of the Darumbal          Surveying Gawula, as part of the
managers is helping guide better           people. The area was transferred to the    development of a cultural heritage plan
management of a significant site in         Trust by the Queensland Government                                     for the site.
Central Queensland.                                ,
                                           in 2007 under the Aboriginal Land
                                           Act 1991. The trustees initiated the
Fitzroy Basin Association Inc and
                                           development of the natural resource
Fitzroy Basin Elders Committee
                                           management plan in order to
supported six people identified by
                                           protect and enhance the biodiversity,
the Gawula Aboriginal Land Trust
                                           recreational and educational values of
Committee to undertake GPS training.
                                           the site.
These participants will put their new
skills to use conducting a cultural        Sally said that sustainable land
heritage survey of Gawula, a parcel        management activities, including
of land on the Central Queensland          controlled burning, had already started
coast managed by the Trust, which will     at the site as a result of the plan’s
support the development of a cultural      development. “The plan also defines
heritage plan.                             our vision of Gawula providing a
                                           sacred and ceremonial gathering place
Trust Chairperson, Sally Vea Vea, said
                                           to heal, through honouring the past                Controlled burning on Gawula.
that the training and cultural heritage
                                           and present traditions and customs,
plan would build on an existing natural
                                           reconnecting to country by working
resource management plan developed
                                           and learning together to nurture, and
by the Trust for Gawula, which was
                                           revitalising and preserving our culture,
launched in early 2009. She said the
                                           traditions and natural environment for
Trust was committed to maintaining
                                           present and future generations,” she
the natural values and environmental
sustainability of Gawula.
                                           Fitzroy Basin Elders Committee
“The natural resource management
                                           provided technical support and
plan provides short and long-term
                                           coordination for the development of
goals, targets and objectives for the
                                           the natural resource management plan,
management of the property, and now
                                           while Greening Australia researched,
we are building our skills and capacity
                                           compiled and published the document.
to achieve those outcomes,” Sally said.
                                           Funding support was provided by
“In the future, we hope to operate a low
                                           Fitzroy River and Coastal Catchments
impact environmental tourism venture
                                           Inc, a sub-region of the Fitzroy            The sand goanna – totem of Gawula.
with designated walking tracks and our
                                           Basin Association Inc responsible
own guides,” she said.
                                           for coordinating natural resource
Gawula, also known as Mt Wheeler,          management in areas including
is a 137 hectare freehold property on      Rockhampton and Yeppoon.
the coast near Rockhampton, within

Desert Channels:                                                                                  Trainees completing field work.

Crossing the
A Cross Cultural program run by
Desert Channels Queensland and the
Longreach State High School with year
eight students met with great success,
with attendance rates in classes at an
all-time high.
The program, funded through the
Federal Indigenous Cultural Heritage
                                             Northern Gulf Indigenous Savannah
program, worked with year eight
students in Longreach to create a
                                             Group conservation graduates
bridge between Indigenous and non-
Indigenous communities, said Jeff            Tuesday, 1 September, was a               mapping, site identification, first aid,
Poole, DCQ’s Indigenous Engagement           momentous occasion for the Northern       video editing, camera operation, and
Officer.                                      Gulf Indigenous Savannah Group            workplace health and safety.
                                             as they watched their first group of
“When a year eight student doesn’t                                                     John Bethel, chair of the Northern
                                             trainees graduate with a Certificate
want to miss a class, it is a pretty good                                              Gulf Resource Management Group,
                                             III in Land Conservation and
sign that a program is working,” he                                                    presented the graduates with their
                                             Management. The course, run by the
said.                                                                                  certificates. “These young people
                                             TAFE Cairns campus, was specially
                                                                                       have taken a very important step,” he
The project began with local elders          adapted for Indigenous conservation
visiting the students to share stories,      knowledge capture, and traditional
knowledge and history. “Each week,           conservation of Indigenous country.       This training will now mean that
a different elder or personality would                                                 representatives from local traditional
                                             Ricky Archer, Traditional Knowledge
visit the children, sharing skills like                                                owner groups will have the skills
                                             Project Manager for the group,
boomerang throwing, local history,                                                     and training to conserve culturally
                                             mentored and assisted with on-site
knowledge on bush tucker, or whatever                                                  significant sites, and record the wealth
                                             training. “The students of this course
the students wanted to know,” said Jeff.                                               of traditional conservation knowledge
                                             picked it up easier than in other
                                                                                       that exists in the community.
One of the most popular topics was           training I have been involved in,” said
Indigenous art, dance and music.             Ricky. “This is because it was tailored
Students were instructed in the              to be done on country, with a hands-
different traditional painting methods,      on approach.”
with students’ artwork now featuring in
                                             The 14 students that participated in
an Indigenous-themed native garden
                                             the course were from six different
at the school. Well known artist, Adrian
                                             traditional owner groups from across
Ross, also joined the program to teach
                                             the Northern Gulf region. The subjects               Beverly Bowyang completing
students dance and music, delving into                                                                     assignment at TAFE.
                                             that were studied covered such topics
the significance and meaning of both
                                             as basic computer operation, GPS
the sounds and movement.
The program culminated with a
presentation to the community of
what the children had learned. They
danced and performed and shared the
personal impacts of the program. “It
was exciting to see students of different
races excited about our Indigenous
culture,” said Jeff. “Understanding leads
to appreciation, and appreciation leads
to valuing our precious cultural heritage.
It is from this position that we can
                                                                                                  Trainees recording traditional
cross the cultural bridge and meet in
true reconciliation.”
Queensland’s NRM
                                                                           NQ Dry Tropics Traditional Owner Management Group.

Traditional owner collaboration
across North Queensland
“In two years we finished 15 projects,     North Queensland Dry Tropics
which speaks for the relationship we      also published a very successful
have with Traditional Owners,” said       landholders’ guide to cultural heritage
Leah Saltner, organiser for the NQ Dry    in the region, called ‘Healthy Land
Tropics Traditional Owner Management      Yarn’, in partnership with the group.
                                          Recently, NQ Dry Tropics helped a
This Management Group represents          Traditional Owner organisation to work
15 Traditional Owner groups across        with the Department of Employment,
northern Queensland, and Leah’s job is    Economic Development and
to help the Group access information      Innovation to set up a team employing
and funding for land and sea activities   over a dozen people – now called the
that are important to them. When the      Green Army. The Green Army started
group started six years ago, it wanted    in August, 2009, and will train staff to
to be the hub for Indigenous people       do land management jobs, like weed
interested in managing land and sea.      control.
Since that time, it has worked well
                                          Other projects currently underway
towards this objective, supported by
                                          include development of an educational        Leah Saltner, NQ Dry Tropics organiser for
natural resource management group,
                                          DVD showing the cultural importance         the Traditional Owner Management Group.
NQ Dry Tropics, and continues to enjoy
                                          of turtles, traditional ecological
strong community support today.
                                          knowledge recording, and the use
Some of these projects have included      of online social networking tools, like
introducing a cultural education          Facebook, to connect Indigenous
program to school children in Ayr,        communities.
a two-day workshop of Traditional
                                          “NQ Dry Tropics is committed
Owner women at Cape Upstart,
                                          to furthering these projects and
just outside of Bowen, and weed
                                          partnerships in any way we can,
management projects at Palm
                                          expanding on past successes,” Leah
Island and Magnetic Island.

                                                New ranger program for Queensland
Nine new Aboriginal Rangers will soon      environmental and cultural significance    vital to that work. Traditional Owners,
be on the ground in the Queensland         within the region. These works will all   landholders, communities, government
Murray-Darling Basin, helping land         help in implementing our Regional         agencies, community organisations
managers protect the environment and       Natural Resource Management Plan,         and a range of other stakeholders all
combat pest and weed threats.              a document that helps coordinate on-      have a part to play in protecting the
                                           ground works across the Basin for the     region’s assets and securing funding
Queensland Murray-Darling
                                           best possible outcomes.”                  for these rangers is just one way we
Committee, in partnership with the
Federal Department of Environment,         Tim said that, along with the focus       are ensuring we can all work together
Water, Heritage and the Arts, has          on on-ground works, the rangers           effectively.”
instigated a long-term program to          themselves would undertake a              Queensland Murray-Darling
employ nine Aboriginal Rangers and         Certificate IV in Conservation Land        Committee’s Aboriginal Ranger
a coordinator to deliver environmental     Management. “This is all part             Coordinator, Charlie Waters, started
outcomes as part of the Working on         of Queensland Murray-Darling
                                                                                     work on 5 October. Charlie will be
Country Regional Program.                  Committee’s role to boost the viability
                                                                                     based in Toowoomba while the
                                           of regional communities, in this case
Queensland Murray-Darling                                                            Aboriginal Rangers, who will be based
                                           by providing these rangers with key
Committee’s Aboriginal Program                                                       across the region, will commence on
                                           skills that can be applied to any role
Regional Coordinator, Tim Knox, said                                                 Monday, 26 October.
                                           they take on in the future,” he said.
that the rangers would carry out a                                                   Queensland Murray-Darling
range of natural resource management       “This announcement is also an
                                           exciting one for Queensland Murray-       Committee’s Ranger program is one
activities, such as the protection of                                                of a variety of Working on Country
riverine areas, feral animal control and   Darling Committee, as we work to
                                           build on our own ‘Caring for Country’     Regional projects running across
threatened species management.                                                       Australia. The Australian Government
                                           plan, developed in conjunction with
“Our nine new rangers will undertake a     the eight Traditional Owner groups        is funding these projects to employ
two week induction course at the end       in the region. The Caring for Country     Indigenous rangers to manage
of October,” Tim said. “The rangers        plan recognises the need to protect       land and sea country across a
will work with land managers, regional     important cultural, ecological, social    variety of tenures, in partnership
councils, communities and Traditional      and economic values within the            with management agencies, non-
Owners to promote Landcare                 region, and we believe the addition of    government organisations and private
works and protect areas of national        these on-the-ground positions will be     landholders.

                                                                                               Back row (from left): Cedric
                                                                                               Washington Senior Ranger),
                                                                                               Robert Lacey (Senior Ranger),
                                                                                               Ashley Butler (Ranger),
                                                                                               Johnathon Bradley (Ranger),
                                                                                               Trevor Cooper (Senior Ranger),
                                                                                               Adam Smith (Ranger), Clem
                                                                                               (Wightman (Ranger).
                                                                                               Front row (from left): Tanya
                                                                                               McKechnie (Aboriginal
                                                                                               Program Engagement Officer),
                                                                                               Temeka Turnbull (Ranger), Tim
                                                                                               Knox (Aboriginal Program
                                                                                               Regional Coordinator), Jessica
                                                                                               Bartholomew (Ranger), Charlie
                                                                                               Waters (Aboriginal Program
                                                                                               Ranger Coordinator).
Queensland’s NRM

Indigenous protected area
co-management project for
Mackay Whitsundays
Traditional Owners and protected              Cultural Immersion Training camps
area managers in the Mackay                   to foster partnerships between
Whitsundays region have implemented           traditional owner groups and relevant
an Indigenous Protected Area Co-              government agencies.
Management Project, running over
                                              The Indigenous Protected Areas
two years (2008-2010). This is the first
                                              Program began in 1997 with
co-management arrangement to be
                                              Indigenous people and the Australian
negotiated in the Mackay Whitsunday
                                              Government embarking on a new
region and will target several key
                                              environmental partnership. Indigenous
protected areas, including Cape
                                              Protected Areas give Indigenous
Hillsborough and Cape Palmerston
                                              communities the ability to manage
National Parks.
                                              their land’s natural and cultural values,
The project will form a working group         and provides ongoing support for
with Traditional Owners and relevant          work to control threats such as weeds,
government agencies to manage the             feral animals and wildfire.
National Parks in partnership, and
employ more Indigenous Rangers to
work on country.
The working group has so far
partnered with the Queensland
Department of Environment and
Resource Management to establish
protocols for Indigenous use of
regional National Parks, and for greater
involvement in Park management.
The group has also worked with
the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Authority to assess and develop zones
for ‘appropriate National Park activities’,
which will be linked to the Great
Barrier Reef Zone Activities Maps.
Natural resource management group,
Reef Catchments, has also been
involved in the project, organising

                                                  Southern Gulf: Inaugural Salt to Dust Western
                                                      Queensland Traditional Owner Workshop
Mick McNiven, South West NRM, with Jim                                                                   Georgina River field trip
          Hill, Yirendali Traditional Owner
                                              Traditional Owners and Indigenous        Knowledge and Research. Participants
                                              land managers from across western        and presenters came from Girringun
                                              Queensland came together recently        and Myuma Aboriginal Corporations,
                                              for the Inaugural Salt to Dust Western   universities, Queensland and
                                              Queensland Traditional Owner             Australian Government departments,
                                              Workshop.                                Desert Knowledge Cooperative
                                                                                       Research Centre, Lake Eyre Basin
                                              Held at Dugalunji Camp, Camooweal
                                                                                       and Great Artesian Basin Advisory
                                              in June 2009, this workshop was
                                                                                       Committees, and the resources
                                              the result of collaboration between
                                              Southern Gulf Catchments, Desert
                                              Channels Queensland and South West       The agenda included ‘Yarning
                                              NRM, bringing together Traditional       Circles’, designed to give presenters
                                              Owners and providing a forum to          and participants the opportunity for
                                              build capacity, network and learn        informal yet focused discussion and
                                              from a diverse range of presenters       question time, and cultural activities
                                              about issues, initiatives and research   with stone tool-making, painting
                                              that support Traditional Owners’         and field trips to Camooweal Caves
                                              participation in and decision-making     National Park and upper Georgina
                                              about country, culture and community.    River with the Elders that speak and
                                                                                       care for that country.
                                              The concept of holding a collaborative
                                              ‘one-stop-workshop’ was born out of      Bringing people together and sharing
Colin Saltmere demonstrates his knapping      bridging challenges facing regional      experiences, issues and learning from
                              techniques      bodies servicing northern and remote     one another was cited as being a key
                                              Australia through strategic, cost-       outcome that was most beneficial
                                              effective and culturally appropriate     and empowering for participants.
                                              practices. While building upon the       Presentations about the Delbessie
                                              partnerships that have long connected    Agreement, Traditional Knowledge
                                              and bound Aboriginal people of           Recording and Indigenous Protected
                                              western Queensland in social, trade,     Areas were also popular.
                                              lore and ceremonial practices and
                                                                                       In western Queensland, working
                                                                                       together for land management across
                                              Over 75 people attended the three        vast landscapes is the Aboriginal
                                              day workshop, deemed a success           way and the spiritual way and with
                                              by participants and presenters alike.    the support of the regional natural
                                              Traditional Owners were presented        resource management group process,
                                              with topical and relevant information    Traditional Owners can continue to
                                              around the four broad themes of          develop their connections, knowledge
                                              Cultural Heritage Management, Caring     and practices associated with good
                Salt to Dust presentations    for Country, Water for Life, and New     land management.
Queensland’s NRM
                                                                        Terrain’s Traditional Owner Advisory Committee meets
                                                                       regularly to address Traditional Owner aspirations for
                                                                       managing country.

 Terrain partners with Traditional Owners
 to improve Indigenous engagement
 Terrain NRM has spent the last five         projects across the region, despite a      Terrain has also supported a bid
 years building partnerships with           significant lack of funding from State      to have the Wet Tropics World
 Indigenous communities across              and Federal Government programs.           Heritage Area relisted for its cultural
 the region to improve Indigenous                                                      values, and the Traditional Owner
 engagement and participation in            Regional projects that Terrain has
                                                                                       Advisory Committee has provided
 conservation activities.                   supported have included four
                                                                                       significant input into a number of
                                            Traditional Owner groups recording
 The establishment of Terrain’s                                                        State Government policies, including
                                            and storing cultural knowledge,
 Traditional Owner Advisory Committee                                                  the review of the Aboriginal Cultural
                                            three Traditional Owner groups
 in 2004 has been a key component of                                                   Heritage Act 2003.
                                            implementing Working on Country
 these activities, addressing Traditional
                                            and/or Indigenous Protected Area           This is only a snapshot of the
 Owner aspirations for managing
                                            projects, two Aboriginal Local             many levels of Traditional Owner
 country in the region. The Committee’s
                                            Government Councils implementing           engagement being worked on and
 work has recently resulted in the
 establishment of a devoted Traditional     their cultural natural resource            developed by staff and directors
 Owner engagement program within            management plans, eight Indigenous         within Terrain. This year, and into 2010,
 Terrain, and the appointment of a          groups with Indigenous land use            new area team arrangements will
 second Indigenous Director to Terrain’s    agreements in place, and the Girringun     be implemented to further improve
 management Board. This has enabled         Aboriginal Corporation, which              this work, bringing together local
 Terrain to provide significant financial     represents nine Traditional Owner          government, catchment and Landcare
 and staff support to many Indigenous       groups.                                    group delivery systems.

                                                      Regional Groups Collective members
          To find out more about
          natural resource management
          projects or contact details for
          your regional natural resource
          management group, visit the
Queensland Regional NRM
Groups Collective website - or ph 07 4699 5000.

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