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Project:

October 7, 2016 gumption

Aboriginal Cultural Connections

The Cultural Connections project came about due to feedback from the Noongar community that they want to be equal partners in environmental management in the South West.

The aim of the Cultural Connections project is to continue to build the capacity of Noongar people to be actively involved in and drive environmental and community outcomes in the South West.

It does this through engaging the broader community in Aboriginal culture in the South West, making links to environmental management through cross-cultural awareness, cultural protocols and traditional ecological knowledge.

The project is providing formal training opportunities to local Noongar people in Conservation and Land Management, to build their skills and knowledge in contemporary land management, so that they are able to access future careers in working on Country.

It also directly contributes towards the development of Aboriginal NRM enterprise opportunities, providing access to NRM contract work for Noongar-owned businesses.

The Aboriginal Cultural Connections project is progressing very well and exceeding all deliverables for the 2015-16 financial year.

Not just 1 Trainee but 2 have been employed at SWCC on a full-time basis, as of March 21, 2016.

A total of 4 Aboriginal businesses were contracted to deliver Aboriginal engagement and cross-cultural education services.

The Noongar Boodjar Language Cultural Aboriginal Corporation, was engaged to deliver Noongar Language training to the SWCC Cultural Connections Trainees, to further their cultural knowledge and understanding.

Two cross-cultural awareness workshops were held on the 3 and 4 May in Kojonup and Katanning, entitled The Magic of Bush Medicine. Three other local Aboriginal owned businesses, including Binyaarn’s Bush Medicine (Viv Hansen), Jack’s Storytelling Tours and the Katanning Aboriginal Corporation, were engaged to deliver these workshops.

A third strategic engagement event was held in Bunbury on 27 May to engage with local Aboriginal people and groups and to develop collaborative partnerships for future business enterprise development.

Together, these events engaged a total of 55 participants, 46 of whom were new to the project and 18 of whom were Aboriginal.

“Since starting our journey here at SWCC from March 2016, it has been nothing but fantastic. We have great support and have assisted in conducting several task in the South West for revegetation projects, we have learnt basic Noongar language to assist us with better tools when connecting with our community, we have travelled all over our catchment to see some amazing places and met some awesome people as well as received training for our Cert III on Conservation and Land Management. I’m living the dream!”
Naydeene Edwards, 2016

“The experience I’ve had so far working at SWCC is hard to put into words, I love every part of it and it is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. Everyday I am learning something new, it’s only been 5 months so far and I am very excited for the remaining 7.”
Summer Bennell, 2016

FUTURE DIRECTIONS

SWCC’s Cultural Connections Trainees will continue to be employed by SWCC on a full-time basis until 31 March, 2017. As part of this role they are undertaking on-ground work, community engagement and Aboriginal consultation, being mentored by SWCC staff in a number of other specialised areas, and undertaking a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management.

The next SWCC Cultural Connections trainee position will commence in July 2017. There have already been 13 expressions of interest from local Aboriginal people in future training and employment opportunities with SWCC.

Future cross-cultural awareness training and Aboriginal engagement is also planned.

FUN FACT

Our South West bushland is also our medicine cabinet! Just ask Viv Hansen, owner-operator of Binyaarns Bush Medicines with her husband Mort. The unique and innovative element of Viv Hansen’s approach to education is that the participants get hands on.

COMMITMENT
2 formal contractual engagements entered into with Aboriginal enterprises
50%
ACHIEVEMENT
4 formal contractual engagements entered into with Aboriginal enterprises
100%

COMMITMENT
1 Aboriginal Trainee employed in paid work experience at SWCC
50%
ACHIEVEMENT
2 Aboriginal Trainees employed in paid work experience at SWCC
100%

Project Manager

Project Manager: Nerilee Boshammer
Cultural Connections Trainees: Naydeene Edwards and Summer Bennell