Discussions are underway to build an Indigenous land management initiative in the Mid-West region of Western Australia.
Two consultative workshops have already been held with a cross-section of government, Indigenous, industry and not-for-profit sectors, facilitated by In-Common and supported by Rangelands NRM through the Australian Governments’ Indigenous Advancement Strategy and other key regional partners.
Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Southern Rangelands) Kieran Massie said the ongoing development of indigenous land management in the Mid-West held significant potential for the broader region.
“A great opportunity exists to build an Indigenous land management initiative to achieve social, economic and environmental benefits to individuals, communities and the Mid-West region more broadly,” Mr Massie said.
The initial workshop ‘Developing Indigenous Land Management in the Mid-West Region’, facilitated by Dr Hamish Morgan of In-Common, was held at the Bundiyarra Aboriginal Corporation on the outskirts of Geraldton in September 2015.
Thirty-two people representing 14 different organisations attended including: Yamatji Marpla Aboriginal Corporation; Northern Agricultural Catchments Commission; Rangelands NRM; Bush Heritage; Meedac; Durack Institute of Technology; Karara Mining; Department of Parks and Wildlife; and Mid-West Development Commission.
“It was noted that several other regions in WA have implemented successful Indigenous land management programs, but that there was no such formal structure in the Mid-West,” Mr Massie said.
“The vision to establish a Mid-West Yamatji Land Management Program was strongly supported by participants”.
Mr Massie said “Indigenous Land Management programs ultimately resulting in the establishment of Ranger teams have proved highly successful in delivering environmental, social and employment outcomes in communities and regions throughout Australia”.
“Such programs have proven to be a successful driver of community leadership, governance, decision-making and meaningful employment and as an effective mechanism to sustainably manage Australia’s natural resources,” he said.
A follow up workshop was subsequently held in December 2015, at which it was acknowledged that regional community consultation would greatly benefit the initiative and strengthen the development of a broader regional strategy.
“The next steps include identification of potential project partners and development of collaborative delivery model for future stages of project,” Mr Massie said.
Four targeted stakeholder and community workshops are planned to take place in the Murchison region over the course of April and May 2016.
“These will identify potential pilot area(s) based on community consultation or definition of further steps required,” Mr Massie said.
Additionally, it is envisaged that a Terms of Reference for a Working Group will be determined and a Strategic Plan and Project Plan finalised.
Mr Massie said this project will create links with other regional initiatives, and ultimately bring together stakeholders that otherwise were not collaborating.
The Mid-West Region covers the Local Government Association areas of: City of Greater Geraldton; Shire of Murchison; Shire of Cue; Shire of Mount Magnet; Shire of Yalgoo; Shire of Meekatharra