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Working on Country

Workshop participantsNorth Coast Local Land Services has developed a range of exciting and innovative cultural connection projects that will help build relationships between Local Aboriginal Land Councils and key environment management organisations.  The key objective of these projects is to establish and build the skills of Aboriginal Green Teams to undertake land management and achieve a cultural connection to Country.

At a recent event at Lake Ainsworth, near Lennox Head, 24 participants from a range of a Local Aboriginal Land Councils and Indigenous groups shared a broad spectrum of cultural land management information and outlined a range of Working on Country project opportunities.

David Brown, CEO of the Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council provided a Welcome to Country and acknowledged his fellow Bundjalung community members and the outstanding cultural significance of the Jali lands surrounding the Lake Ainsworth and Seven Mile coastal plains.

David said, “We place a strong importance on land management as a key objective of the Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council and will support our communities need to participate in these types of engagement opportunities, share ideas and to connect with their Country.”

The Seven Mile coastal plain has been part of an ongoing Working on Country project supported by North Coast Local Land Services, with funding provided by the National Landcare Programme and Catchment Action NSW, in partnership with Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council, WetlandCare Australia and EnviTE Environment.

The workshop discussed practical ways to engage appropriately with Aboriginal communities to allow for productive and sound project outcomes.  Ian Fox, a cultural heritage consultant said, “It is important to ask first when undertaking effective engagement and developing communication and information agreements with the relevant Aboriginal stakeholders, by doing this your proposal is better understood and you will likely gain the respect and trust of the local communities.”

Many opportunities have been identified under the partnership that will build community capacity through direct Aboriginal engagement, employment and skills development.

Barry Williams, Senior Land Services Officer with North Coast Local Land Services was delighted with the outcomes of the day “There is such a diverse range of Working on Country activity happening across the region, including cultural heritage and traditional land management on Land Council lands, Indigenous Protected Areas and in National Parks and Local Council reserves.”

North Coast Local Land Services Senior Land Services Officer, John Nagle, who coordinated the day, spoke of the great privilege of sharing stories of the Lake Ainsworth area with Marcus Ferguson, a traditional custodian and coordinator of the neighbouring Ngunya Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area near Wardell.

John said, “Finishing the day with the walk around the Lake, led by Marcus, gave me a real connection to the bushland surrounding Lake Ainsworth and, as a result of the workshop, we have a wealth of interesting project ideas to explore.”

Media contact:

John Nagle, Senior Land Services Officer Phone 6623 3921

Photo captions:

(L to R) Ian Fox, Oliver Costello, Marcus Ferguson and John Nagle.