Greening Australia and BHP/BMA have partnered with these Traditional Owners and Indigenous communities to improve and maintain the whole catchment connected to the Great Barrier Reef by engaging, enabling, and empowering Traditional Owners and Indigenous communities to care for Country. The partnerships with the Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council and Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation have been fundamental to the project’s success to date.
A number of feasibility studies are also ongoing to explore opportunities in environmental credits, and in seed collecting and nursery enterprises.
Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford says the project is creating sustainable pathways for First Nations-led employment and enterprises to support ongoing investment in healing Country:
“The Queensland Indigenous Land Conservation Project represents an opportunity to share a regional blueprint for how we can collaborate to integrate Indigenous knowledge for best practice methods of healing and managing Country, while building economic resilience within local communities.”
The QILCP is part of Greening Australia’s Reef Aid program, which rebuilds eroding gullies and restores vital coastal wetlands to improve water quality, increasing the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef to the impacts of climate change.
Greening Australia’s Reef Aid Program Director Dr Lynise Wearne said Indigenous communities play a vital role in protecting the Reef:
“This project draws on the unique cultural knowledge and expertise of Traditional Owners and Indigenous communities across the Fitzroy Basin Catchment, co-designing pathways to employment to heal Country and protect our Great Barrier Reef.”
Mayor of Woorabinda, Josh Weazel said, “This particular project is a significant moment for our community of Woorabinda. It provides opportunity for employment. This project further allows our community to become an active voice and lead participation in managing our country through land conservation management principles that are aligned with cultural obligation and stewardship of the land.
“What we do here on our country will affect other communities and more broadly reduce our footprint and effects on biodiverse and ecological systems, throughout our Fitzroy basin catchment and the Great Barrier Reef.”
Woorabinda Ranger Coordinator Milton Lawton said, “There’s an inherent connection between the wellbeing of our Reef and the people who surround it. In strengthening the Reef and ensuring its longevity, we’re also fortifying our local communities.”
BMA Asset President Mauro Neves said, “No one knows the Great Barrier Catchment better than the Traditional Owners and Indigenous communities. This program will equip them to help heal and protect the environment while creating new jobs and supporting their communities.”
QILCP is jointly funded by Greening Australia’s Reef Aid program, BHP and BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).