Spotlight on working in support of First Nations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
"Healthy Land and Water remains firmly committed to striving to improve our understanding and empowerment of First Nation communities."
- Joel Bolzenius, Strategic Partnerships Manager
Healthy Land and Water has been fortunate to be involved in a wide range of First Nations focused initiatives. Some of the highlight activities over the year included:
- Supporting Traditional Owners in several areas of South East Queensland in responding to the 2019 fire events and ensuring that cultural heritage and First Nation priorities were given due consideration within recovery efforts.
- Assisting the continued Traditional Owner led expansion of protected areas on Minjerribah which has increased from 2% of the Island in 2011 to the current extent of conservation areas which cover over 50% of the Island. In 2019, further planning was released for the full extent of National Park expansion which is planned to cover 80% of the Island.
- Cultural heritage value recording and surveys have been critical in informing Kabi Kabi aspirations for Country and shellfish reef restoration activities in particular.
- 2019 saw the end of large-scale sand mining on Minjerribah and Healthy Land and Water has been privileged to support the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation in negotiating with Mining Companies and Government to enable the Quandamooka People to play the lead role in the rehabilitation and restoration of Country.
- The reinstatement of cultural burning and landscape management practices has been increasingly occurring in many parts of the region and Healthy Land and Water along with the Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium has supported planning activities, fire management trials, and the implementation of broadscale cultural burning practices being led by Traditional Owners.
- Koala Conservation is actively being led by Traditional Owners in many parts of South East Queensland in line with recommendations made by the Queensland Koala Expert Panel and Healthy Land and Water has worked to support the empowerment of First Nations people in this space.
- There is greater coverage of cultural heritage bodies and Native Title applicants in South East Queensland than ever before and Healthy Land and Water is striving to provide opportunities for these parties to participate in project activities and decision-making processes as well as educating other stakeholders on requirements for Traditional Owner collaboration.
- Healthy Land and Water is continuing to pursue options to reinvigorate cultural resource management planning that has been undertaken by Traditional Owners and has been working with the Queensland Government to identify opportunities to update and deliver on these aspirations.
- Healthy Land and Water is working to redress past displacement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from the natural resource management sector by providing prioritised employment and procurement pathways. This has included working with natural resource management groups across Queensland to have these practices adopted state-wide and aligned with the UN declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.