Aboriginal Reference Group
The effective protection and conservation of cultural heritage is an important asset in maintaining our Australian identity and the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people. Through our Cultural Heritage theme a strong, inclusive partnership has been created with the local Aboriginal community, built on the understanding that Aboriginal people have an inseparable relationship with ‘Country’ and caring for the environment. This partnership allows us to work in consultation with Traditional Owners and Elders and build the capacity of the Aboriginal community to restore and protect projects sites of cultural significance.
What is the Aboriginal Reference Group?
The Aboriginal Reference Group is a skills based group that oversees cultural heritage investment in NRM across the south coast region.
The group’s aspiration is to ensure that cultural heritage and Aboriginal practices including spiritual and cultural values are considered across all themes to:
- protect natural cultural heritage places;
- ensure the community recognises and values Aboriginal traditional ecological knowledge, land management practices and connection to country; and
- build the capacity of the Aboriginal community to engage in all areas of natural resource management.
Specifically, the Aboriginal Reference Group;
- provides technical advice and guidance to South Coast NRM and provides strategic direction for the Cultural Heritage theme;
- assist with the development and review of Cultural Heritage theme related projects,
- provide a critical link to Aboriginal community by identifying local community issues, concerns and activities related to Landcare and natural resource management;
- fosters partnerships with Aboriginal groups and agencies.
What types of projects does the group currently oversee?
The Reference Group currently oversees the following projects:
- National Landcare Program - Cultural Connections project - involving Aboriginal people in natural resource management, protection and restoration of significant cultural locations, and supporting sustainable Indigenous enterprises.
- Youth Engagement Scheme –Strong & Proud (Wumbudin koul-yee-rah) project - this after school program provides Aboriginal youth with the opportunity to participate in sport and active recreation, cultural and environmental activities with the assistance of mentors and Aboriginal Elders. The program has been developed around the six Noongar seasons and locations where Aboriginal people have traditionally moved.
- State NRM - Restoring Connections project– engaging, involving and creating opportunities for Aboriginal people in NRM. This will be achieved through governance training and support, building skills and capacity in NRM and involvement in identifying and prioritising cultural heritage sites that require protection and restoration.
- Department of Environment - Aboriginal Green Army project- hosting two green army teams specifically for Aboriginal people for 12 months (2 six months contracts), one in Esperance and one in Albany.