Gidarjil Development Corporation yesterday explained their fire-stick burning knowledge and sea ranger program to the federal environment minister.
Burnett Mary Regional Group CEO Sheila Charlesworth invited the Federal Minister to visit the Bundaberg Region when she was at a roundtable discussion at Parliament House earlier this month.
Sheila said Ms Ley had heard about the wonderful environmental and farming initiatives happening in the Bundaberg Region and the visit was a good opportunity to show her some of the accomplishments first hand.
“We invited her here on 20 January and she said she’d try to get up here and obviously she made the effort to get here with short notice, and I think that’s brilliant,” Sheila said.
“She really cares about our area and cares about the programs we do and can see we are really progressive and innovative with the land and we do a lot of work with the reef as well.”
Shelia said it was significant to show how groups in the Bundaberg Region joined together with a holistic approach, in particular Indigenous groups such as Gidarjil Development Corporation.
“I think we are very fortunate to be advanced and have a great collaboration with BMRG, Gidarjil, Butchella and BPAC with our Indigenous ranger program that we work with,” she said.
“We work closely with Bundaberg Regional Council and there is the vision of the holistic approach to benefit our region and we think it’s pretty outstanding how we are moving ahead now, pooling resources for the betterment of our community and the minister has come here today to see how we do it.”
Gidarjil show the minister their achievements
Gidarjil’s CEO Kerry Blackman was grateful the Ms Ley accepted an invitation to visit the Bundaberg Region and see what the corporation has achieved in the last three years.
“It’s a good opportunity to blow our trumpet about how we are managing our land and sea country and give the minister a first hand look at this,” Mr Blackman said.
“Hopefully we really impressed her with our Indigenous techniques, how we manage our land and sea country.
“We have 26,000 square kilometres of sea country to manage and as I said we take that responsibility seriously and we can’t advocate that to anybody else.
“Over the years we have built capacity, not only with our human resources now but with the equipment to manage it.”
Kerry said Gidarjil had real dreams and aspiration and there were exciting times a head for the Indigenous corporation.
“We are really excited about that we can show the minister, it’s like show and tell, and hopefully we can get some more support,” he said.
“Especially around this fire management, that’s the burning issue, sorry to use the pun but the burning issue around Australia is how to manager land and country through fire management and we are doing really well by using our traditional owner fire-stick burning techniques.
“When you are proactive, like we are in our region with managing our land country through our own techniques and traditional techniques, hopefully the minister has been very impressed in our region and how we are not only just actually talking about doing it, we are actually doing it and we gave the minister firsthand view of our world and how we are managing it.”
Gidarjil Sea Ranger Jacob Williams said it was good to have the minister in the Bundaberg Region to see what they had accomplished.
“It was good for her to come along and get involved and hearing our side of what we do here in country,” Jacobs said.
“How we do things, the way we do burns and care for our land.”
Gidarjil impresses with training and knowledge
Ms Ley said it would be the first of several visits to the Bundaberg Region as she believed there was a lot to look at in the way of environmental management, Indigenous cultural burning, and training of rangers, whether that be on sea or land.
“It is really vital that we connect all of the initiatives and activities here with federal policy,” Ms Ley said.
Ms Ley commended the work and training Gidarjil had achieved, saying it although it was wide spread in the training that had given young people a variety of opportunities.
“Young people today, or anyone who is training in an area, needs to have versatility and they need to have diversity, that helps with the right skills base and different areas that they can apply those skills and the choices they might make,” she said.
“There is so much going on and I was particularly excited about the land management and conservation management activities and the range of certificates and qualifications that students can obtain.”
Ms Ley commended Gidarjil for their fire stick burning principals and said they were part of the Firesticks Alliance who also applied the same principals in advice given for land management across Australia.
“So it’s about the right time, the right type of burn and the right vegetation and if you get that right you are well on the way to achieving the type of land management, I think that responds best to Australia’s drought, that is biting harder and harder across the country, and climate change which is changing the future when it comes to vegetation rules,” she said.
The environment minister said heading back to Canberra she would share the significant opportunities that she learned about the sea and land ranger were under taking and also the information about the Indigenous cultural burning.
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