A new phase is underway for Indigenous organisation Ngadju Conservation as they secure Commonwealth funding to manage their ranger program independently.
Over the past six years, the Ngadju Conservation, Gondwana Link and Rangeland NRM program, funded through the National Landcare Programme and other sources, has been recognised by the Commonwealth Government as a remarkable success story.
For the next stage of the program, Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation has received $696,000 through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. This is to assume overall management of the program and its expansion into a community based ‘on country’ ranger skills training and employment ready program.
Chairperson of Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation, Les Schultz said, “Our long-term goal has been to stand on our own two feet and take responsibility for managing our traditional lands.”
“We have valued the ongoing support provided by Gondwana Link and Rangelands NRM over the past six years,” he said.
“This has enabled us to build the program and our capacity to the stage where Ngadju Conservation can drive and manage the next important phase ourselves.”
Gondwana Link’s Great Western Woodlands Program Manager Peter Price has been key in supporting the group.
“Working with Les Schultz over the past six years assisting Ngadju to develop land management strategies and establishing the Norseman based Ngadju Ranger program has been an incredible and fulfilling journey,” Mr Price said.
Ngadju have exclusive native title over some 4.5 million hectares of the Great Western Woodlands and non exclusive native title over an additional 5 million hectares.
The area includes a substantial portion of the southern goldfields that extends from the wheatbelt out past Cocklebiddy on the Nullarbor.
The financial assistance provided by the Commonwealth for 2017/2018 aligns the Ngadju Conservation program with the other Commonwealth funded Ranger programs.
“I thank our Elders, fellow Ngadju and the community for supporting and participating in the planning process to get to this stage,” Mr Schultz said.
“I also express our appreciation to Minister Scullion and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet team in Perth for their belief in our desire and ability to manage our country.”
Mr Schulz added, “I also want to acknowledge the Dundas Shire Council, WA Senator Rachel Siewert and the Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson for supporting our aspirations.”
Rangelands NRM CEO Dr Gaye Mackenzie said, “This is exactly what we hope to achieve when we support indigenous groups through providing project based work.”
“It is our intention that the groups we work with become self-sustaining and self-driven, and we eventually put ourselves out of a job.”
“Ngadju Conservation are a great example of this.”
NOTES FOR EDITOR:
Rangelands NRM WA is a not for profit, non-aligned community-based group which aims to facilitate collaboration and best practice in environmental management for land managers who want to achieve good natural resources outcomes. For more information about Rangelands NRM and their projects, visit http://www.rangelandswa.com.au
Gondwana Link project is an ambitious connectivity conservation project in south-west Western Australia. The project was the first of its kind in Australia and is designed to protect and restore the ecological integrity of land areas across south-western Australia, a biodiversity hotspot. The completed link will be a continuous 1000km of reconnected bushland stretching from the wet forests in the State’s far southwest to the dry woodlands and shrublands bordering the Nullarbor Plain. It brings together many partners with complementary skills that benefit the environment as well as local and regional communities. http://www.gondwanalink.org/
Chairperson Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation
Mobile: 0400 908834
Program Manager, Great Western Woodlands, Gondwana Link
Mobile: 0418 926 539
Kieran Massie, Southern Rangelands Program Manager, Rangelands NRM, WA
Tel: 08 9468 5255 | Mobile: 0499 977 107 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ngadju rangers, 12 October 2017 (©Peter Price)
Les Schultz (Chairperson Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation) and Peter Price (Program Manager, Great Western Woodlands, Gondwana Link), 12 October 2017 (©Mike Griffiths)