Sharing Ideas and Experiences

23rd Nov 2011

Djunbunji Land and Sea Program hosted a visit from Ghungalu Traditional Owners from the Blackdown Tableland National Park area in early September.

Blackdown Tableland National Park is located 180 km west of Rockhampton and 110 km east of Emerald.

Roy Rob, Pam Hegarty and Greg Dunk, accompanied by consultant Dermot Smyth, visited five locations in the Cairns region to meet with Traditional Owners involved in Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) and National Park management to learn from their experiences and exchange ideas about future options, including tourism and other enterprise development.

The Ghungalu delegation was provided with copies of the Strategic Plan for Mandingalbay Yidinji Country and draft IPA Management Plan.

Among issues discussed were:

  • Challenges of establishing an independent Indigenous ranger group from scratch, including selection of rangers and building capacity through training and mentoring

  • Challenges of coordinating work programs with multiple government agencies

  • Benefits of the IPA concept to enable Traditional Owners to lead the journey towards co-management

  • Growing support and recognition from government agencies of the benefits of the IPA planning process to build partnerships and to assist agencies to meet their obligations to protect and manage the cultural values of protected areas

  • Interest in broadening the scope of Djunbunji economic enterprises, which may include contract environmental services outside the IPA boundaries and tourism opportunities within the IPA, particularly given the close proximity to Cairns
  • Blackdown Tableland National Park co-management IPA project, Ghungalu enterprise development initiatives, including cultural heritage services and their traffic control business

Traditional Owner visits, Ranger exchanges and attendance at National Indigenous Ranger Conferences provide a range of opportunities for the sharing of ideas, strengthen links and build on experiences to allow for better outcomes in managing and caring for country.