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Supporting traditional knowledge at the heart of new Queensland Government environment grants

Dechlan Brennan -

The Queensland Government has announced more than $500,000 will be invested in support of environmental projects led by First Nations organisations.

Seven projects in the state in the latest round of the Looking after Country grants program, which provides funding of up to $75,000 for First Nations communities to conserve and manage environmental and cultural heritage on Country.

Chief executive of the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji Elders Aboriginal Corporation, Gudju Gudju Fourmile, said involving Elders, as well as the preservation of traditional knowledge, was at the heart of the project,

"By fostering inter-generational knowledge transfer, the project revitalises cultural heritage," he said.

"Through educational workshops, the project will empower community members with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective environmental conservation."

The funded projects include native plant propagation and planting to protect important waterways and education for young people on cultural use of fire for land management.

They are led by Aboriginal corporations and organisations across the state, from Gimuy Walabara Yidinji country (Cairns region) to Wangkangurru Yarluyandi country (the 'Big Red' sand dune in the Simpson Desert.)

The projects will also support 40 jobs for Indigenous Queenslanders.

Wangkangurru/Yarluyandi woman Jean Barr-Crombie, the Wangkangurru Yarluyandi Aboriginal Corporation Working on Country Reference Group Chair, says the Cultural Heritage Management Plan for 'Big Red' will ensure cultural site management and protection can be achieved through education and awareness of our cultural sites.

"Present and future generations of Traditional Owners will benefit from the sharing of knowledge from Traditional Owners," Ms Barr-Crombie said.

"This builds a stronger connection to Country, and long-term understanding and co-management with the land managers."

The Queensland Government says the project combines "generations of traditional knowledge with modern technologies to protect the State's valuable cultural and natural heritage".

The project highlights and celebrates Indigenous Australians as the "world's original land managers and scientists." with the outcome being a two-way exchange of knowledge.

Quandamooka woman and Minister for Treaty and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Leeanne Enoch, said the passing of knowledge from Elders to younger generations was important for culture, as well as caring for country.

"For young people to learn from Elders about how to care for their country is a crucial component for the transfer of knowledge," she said.

"This investment will not just assist in the preservation of the world's oldest living cultures but will also have a positive impact for our precious environment."

Looking after Country grants program recipients

$75,000 for Wangkangurru Yarluyandi Aboriginal Corporation for their project Wangkangurru Yarluyandi cultural heritage—management and protection of 'Big Red' sand dune. 'Big Red' is cultural important for the Traditional Custodians as well as an important landmark for visitors to the region.

$75,000 for Gimuy Walubara Yidinji Elders Aboriginal Corporation for their project, Wet Tropics Native Tree Nursery: Restoring the Great Barrier Reef Catchment. This project will engage the community in learning and knowledge exchange about plants and establish a seed bank of native and culturally significant plant species through seed collection, propagation and planting, and nursery establishment, as well as capacity building, community education and awareness.

$75,000 for Badjuballa Aboriginal Corporation and $74,900 to Wabubadda Aboriginal Corporation to collaborate on projects to care for the culturally significant Badjuballa Station in Kirrama Range.

$74,675 for Nyanda Life Ltd to document and teach traditional ecological knowledge of plants, on sites near the Brisbane area.

$75,000 for South West Indigenous Corporation to re-establish native fish populations in fresh water lakes and rivers near St George.

$75,000 for Watsonville Aboriginal Corporation for knowledge sharing workshops, involving Elders and young people, focused on plant identification and the use of cultural fire to protect environmental and cultural values.

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