Aboriginal engagement session at the State NRM 'Tipping Point' Conference

Aboriginal engagement is the topic of a concurrent session at this year's State NRM 'Tipping Point' Conference. The session, held on day two of the conference, will showcase the work of five groups working in Aboriginal NRM.

Come along and listen, learn and share your ideas.

Please visit the conference website for more information and to register.

Summaries of each presentation follow.

Heal the land - heal the people

Presented by David Collard, State Aboriginal NRM Coordinator, State NRM Office

David has worked in Aboriginal affairs for over 30 years and enjoys the challenge of operating 'outside the box' as a Nyoongar public servant.

He is currently working with the State NRM Office to develop a state-wide Aboriginal engagement framework. The framework aims to increase Aboriginal participation in natural resource management decision-making process at the regional level.

He has also developed an 'Aboriginal NRM Pathway' to build the capacity of Aboriginal people to develop economic, social, environmental and cultural projects. The 'Pathway' will help the government to offer more meaningful opportunities during Native Title settlement discussions, and establish long-term sustainability for the land and the people.

What's working in the rangelands - how patience pays

Presented by Bevan Gray, Aboriginal Facilitator, Rangelands NRM

Bevan sees NRM as a vehicle which quickly closes the gap of disadvantage suffered by many aboriginal people.

He has a passion for working directly with people to build their capabilities to care for country, and works diligently to create a smooth pathway to NRM. Influencing change in decision making is a personal goal for him.

Bevan will provide a bird's eye view of the work happening in Aboriginal NRM in the rangelands through their five regional programs: Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne/Murchison, Goldfields/Nullabor and Desert.

Managing Parkinsonia on the Fortescue River

Video presented by the Ngurrawaana NRM Rangers

The remote community of Ngurrawaana is situated 115km south of Karratha, adjacent to Millstream National Park and alongside the Fortescue River.

An infestation ofParkinsonia aculeatealong the Fortescue River's Gregory and Dogger Gorges' was causing access problems in the gorges situated on the Ieramugadu lease.

The Ngurrawaana NRM Rangers have been managing the Parkinsonia infestation with the help of a Caring for our Country grant for the past six years.

Many support agencies were involved in supporting the community to build its own team of land managers. The Ngurrawaana NRM Rangers are now seen as leaders amongst their people - the Yindjibarndi/Ngarluma people.

This important work will be showcased through a short video production.

Continuing the Ngadju journey

Presented by Les Schultz, Coordinator, Ngadju Conservation

Ngadju country covers a significant part of the Great Western Woodlands region in south-western Australia. The internationally significant region is one of the largest un-fragmented woodlands remaining on earth, and contains about one fifth of all known plant species in Australia.

Ngadju Native Title was recently recognised over this land, increasing opportunities for Ngadju people to be and work on country, and have a strong voice in management of the region.

Les will explain how Ngadju Conservation has been working to make good use of these opportunities, building their own capacity to manage the country, and to build jobs and other opportunities for the Ngadju people.; abc rural radio interview

Making cultural connections in the south-west

Presented by Zac Webb, Aboriginal NRM Facilitator, South West Catchments Council

Since the South West Catchments Council first began, it has been undertaking a broad range of projects to involve the Nyungar community in the natural resource management sector.

Their Integrated Cultural Understanding (ICU) project, developed in 2009, continues this legacy. It aims to engage Nyungar people in NRM at the planning level, enabling them to have a say in how decisions are made.

Commonly, projects are planned, management decisions made and project objectives developed prior to any Aboriginal consultation taking place. Also, cultural heritage protection is often considered separately to environmental protection, with a focus on site by site treatment and management of culturally significant sites.

The ICU project was developed in an effort to address this engagement gap; ensuring true involvement of Aboriginal people, from project commencement to completion.