More than 20 First Nations organisations across Queensland will receive funding to protect cultural and environmental values of Country, the Palaszczuk Government has announced.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon visited Maryborough today and said a record number of First Nations groups would share in funding of more than $1.5 million, from organisations on Mabuiag and Muralag Islands in the Torres Strait in the north, to near Birdsville in the west and Gatton in Southern Queensland.
“First Nations communities have played a central and powerful role in caring for environment, culture and heritage for tens of thousands of years,” Minister Scanlon said.
“These grants will support projects including cultural site restoration, mapping of climate change impacts, water catchment planning, erosion control, traditional fire management and inter-generational learning and butterfly habitat protection.
“It builds on our commitment to double the number of Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers in Queensland, as well as ongoing partnerships with Traditional Owners across the state to conserve our natural environment.
“At the same time, these projects will also importantly support more than 100 jobs, whether they be rangers or project officers.”
Minister Scanlon through the projects, First Nations organisations will work with their communities and partner organisations, combining generations of traditional knowledge with modern technologies, to protect important sites and ecological systems.
The Maryborough Aboriginal Corporation for Housing and Cultural Development will receive a grant of $75,000 for the Moonaboola Bush Garden project which will see the Corporation create an accessible 100 metre cultural heritage garden path lined with labelled native plants, including a native plant greenhouse, ceremonial area and a yarning circle.
Corporation Manager Martine Britton said that the project would provide employment for a project manager and engage Skilling for Queensland trainees and volunteers – building their knowledge of bush tucker and medicine, horticulture and traditional heritage.
“The grant is a welcome contribution, assisting us to create an educational and cultural experience for the local community, and to engage Butchulla and other First Nations people in the project delivery,” Ms Britton said.
“The greenhouse facility has the potential to support our future social enterprise development, supplying native trees and shrubs to a range of customers.”
On Muralag Island in the Torres Strait, the Kaurareg Native Title Aboriginal Corporation will receive $74,835 to work with archaeologists and heritage protection specialists to create an app-based system for prioritising cultural heritage sites at risk from climate change.
Kaurareg Native Title Aboriginal Corporation General Manager Enid Tom said the project would combine Indigenous Knowledge of Country and risk management in oral traditions with Western climate science of sea level change.
“The project will empower the Kaurareg to prioritise, map and mitigate damage and loss to cultural heritage sites identified to be at risk. It will assist in educating the youth, who are the future generation, about how to care for country,” Ms Tom said.
The Kyerrwandha Thingalkal Land Trust in Cape York Peninsula will use a $71,137 grant on a cultural burning and invasive species control project.
The project will engage Elders to teach young people about traditional fire management methods.
Land Trust Chairperson Alwyn Lyall said “We will conduct hands-on workshop activities in the field to enable our young people to learn traditional fire management methods and different ways of burning Country from knowledge passed down.”
“This will be done in such a way to maximise intergenerational learning and long-term knowledge transfer,” Mr Lyall said.