Indigenous projects showcased at State NRM Conference

[May 2014] 

A number of Rangelands’ NRM Indigenous projects were showcased at the State NRM Conference in Busselton last month.  

The ‘Tipping Point Conference’, organised by WA’s seven regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups, the State NRM Office and major partner, Regional Development Australia, took place in Busselton from 7-9 May.  

Rangelands NRM Indigenous Projects Officer Bevan spoke in a session on ‘Aboriginal Engagement’ presenting on ‘What is working in the rangelands – how patience pays’.  

“Rangelands NRM has a great blend of Indigenous projects throughout the vast expanses of the rangelands of WA from the Kimberley through to the Pilbara, in the Gascoyne/Murchison, the Goldfields/ Nullabor regions and within the newly founded desert program,” Mr Gray said.  

Rangelands NRM has been working with the Ngurrawaana community in the Pilbara for over six years now, and a ranger program is well established.  

The film ‘On Country – Ngurrawaana Rangers’ was also shown as part of this session. The film details the work the Rangers have undertaken to control the Weed of National Significance – Parkinsonia aculeate – in the Fortescue River catchment.  

“The success of this project has been due to the patience shown by Rangelands NRM management and the Board itself, after unforeseen circumstances saw the project stagnate. Although not much happened on ground, a lot of planning and negotiations were able to take place.”  

“The interruption resulted in younger community members standing up to lead their people in the absence of senior Elders and decision makers,” Mr Gray said.  

“Using the participatory planning process, we have worked with the community to plan the work the way they wanted to do it – prioiritising is important to them.”  

A Tom Price Ranger group is evolving, following on from the good example of the nearby Ngurrawaana community. A coordinator has been funded for two years.  

Rangelands NRM has also been working for a number of years with Aboriginal communities in collaboration with Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ), Central Desert Native Title Service (CDNTS) and Spinifex in the Western Desert. Projects include monitoring of endangered species, protection of culturally significant sites and natural water holes and training and management techniques. Firearm training is also part of everyday ranger business. A person who failed the course one year has come back and completed the training to be a qualified person today.  

Mr Gray also highlighted projects where Rangelands NRM has assisted Aboriginal-run pastoral stations to undertake ESRM (Ecologically Sustainable Rangelands Management) plans on their properties. ESRM plans have now been prepared for Ngurrawaana’s Ieramugadu water lease, Stations at Mt Wittenoom in the Murchison, Ullawarra in the Upper Gascoyne have completed plans and work is underway with Cardabia and Towrana/Gilroyd Stations the Gascoyne and Menzies AC in the Goldfields/Nullarbor.  

Les Schultz, from Ngadju Conservation also presented at this session ‘Continuing the Ngadju journey’. Rangelands NRM is also supporting Ngadju Conservation endorsed through native title a project that will protect and conserve the vulnerable malleefowl and caring for key sites in the Great Western Woodlands of WA.    

David Collard, State Aboriginal NRM Coordinator at the State NRM Office opened the session with ‘Help the Land – Heal the People’, and Zac Webb, Aboriginal NRM Facilitator from the South West Catchment Council presented on ‘Making Connections in the South West’.  

For more information on our Indigenous projects, please contact Bevan Grey or visit our website. The ‘On Country - Ngurrawaana Rangers’ film can be viewed on our YouTube Channel.