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New milestones celebrated for Queensland Indigenous Land Conservation Project

Project partners came together at Woorabinda State School to celebrate QILCP achievements to date, pictured with Craig Crawford, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. Image by Trent White

 

Yesterday, the community of Woorabinda celebrated the launch of a new Indigenous ranger program, alongside several other key milestones achieved as part of the Queensland Indigenous Land Conservation Project (QILCP) led by Greening Australia and BHP/BMA, with project partners the Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council and the Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation.

 

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.

Barada Barna Board Director Mervyn Riley speaks at the QILCP celebration event. Image by Trent White.

Woorabinda Mayor Josh Weazel speaking at the QILCP celebration event. Image by Trent White.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The QILCP, which has been active since April 2019, today celebrates several achievements including:

  • The establishment of two project reference groups, one in the Woorabinda community and the other with the Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation.
  • Undertaking a Healthy Country planning process with Woorabinda Project Reference Group to create a management plan for the Woorabinda Rangers Program.
  • Funding from the Queensland Government for five ranger positions in Woorabinda.
  • The appointment of Milton Lawton as Woorabinda Ranger Coordinator.
  • Works undertaken with Woorabinda community to fix eroding gullies on pastoral properties as part of the Fitzroy Water Quality Project.
  • Completion of a Healthy Country planning process with Barada Barna Project Reference Group to create a management plan for culturally and ecologically significant wetlands.
  • Ecological survey of over 60 hectares to inform management actions on Barada Barna country.
  • Organised for Central Queensland University to deliver accredited training in conservation and ecosystem management and weed management for Barada Barna Cultural Heritage Team and Woorabinda Rangers.
  • Formed Dipperu Steering Committee to explore and promote opportunities for Barada Barna to undertake management activities within Dipperu Scientific National Park.

 

A number of feasibility studies are also ongoing to explore opportunities in environmental credits, and in seed collecting and nursery enterprises.

Kulgoodah Dancers bringing the celebration spirit. Image by Trent White.

 

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.”

Minister Craig Crawford speaks at the QILCP celebration event. Image by Trent White.

Wadja Elder Aunty Di speaks at the QILCP celebration event alongside BKY Elder Davina. Image by Trent White.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

Reef Aid Program Director Dr Lynise Wearne speaks at the QILCP Celebration event. Image by Trent White.

Dominic Nolan, Head of Corporate Affairs at BHP, speaks at the QILCP celebration event. Image by Trent White.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).

For more information, visit greeningaustralia.org.au/projects/working-together-to-heal-sea-country.