A new funding initiative will provide $530,000 for six projects across the state, with Indigenous employment in Queensland expected to receive a boost.
The Queensland government’s Indigenous Land and Sea Grants Program enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island groups to access up to $100,000 for environmental and cultural heritage schemes.
Dr Steven Miles, Environment Minister, said the government hopes the funding will offer Indigenous communities the tools and resources needed to embark on critical conservation and preservation activities.
According to Dr Miles, the initiative has a number of wide-ranging benefits, including increasing job opportunities for Indigenous people in Queensland.
“It is a really great program. It provides opportunities for community building, skills development, intergenerational knowledge transfer, local employment and important on-ground works,” he explained.
“This year’s program included an additional focus on supporting projects that engage Indigenous people in improving the management and protection of the Great Barrier Reef.”
The six initiatives will benefit from between approximately $62,000 and $100,000 each. For example, the Normanby Aboriginal Corporation will head a reef conservation scheme at Normanby Station near Cooktown, which costs $100,000.
Elsewhere, the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation will use a $98,900 grant to rehabilitate coastal dune vegetation on North Stradbroke Island. The protection of endangered species and weed removal are the key aims of a $95,000 Olkola Aboriginal Corporation project.
The Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation aims to utilise its $96,000 in funding to identify and map important cultural sites in the region, as well as train young Indigenous people to appreciate important ecosystems.
Lastly, Mullen Bun Goon Pty Ltd will oversee three culturally significant locations via a $62,315 grant, while the Mungulla Aboriginal Corporation will restore a historic Nywaigi Clan birth and burial site with $78,310.
More support for Indigenous communities
The funding news followed recent comments from Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt, who is also the state’s Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.
Speaking in November, Mr Pitt said Queensland is committed to providing a new agenda for Indigenous communities that focuses on job creation and other employment opportunities.
In attendance at the Communities Futures Summit in Yarrabah, he claimed it was time for the government to listen more to what Indigenous people and organisations want.
As such, ministers can then provide the economic and social development support that Aboriginal Australians need to guide their own futures. Mr Pitt said this is the best way to facilitate health and happiness across Indigenous communities.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator