Posted: February 14th, 2018
On 10 February 2018, the WA State Government announced the first round of funding of its Aboriginal Ranger Program, awarding $8.4 million to successful applicants. Over the next five-years this program will provide a total of $20 million to support Aboriginal people in the management and conservation of their traditional country.
Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) empowers all of our Traditional Owner communities in realising their conservation and land management objectives by supporting them to be the decision-makers on their Country.
As one of the successful applicants in the first round of funding, YMAC – on behalf of Malgana Shark Bay People’s Native Title Claim Group – will receive funding for the employment of one Malgana Ranger and one Land and Sea Management Coordinator for 18-months, as part of the proposed “Pathway to a Malgana Country Land and Sea Management Program”.
The first round of funding was very competitive with 58 applications requesting over $60 million in funding and only 13 programs awarded funding.
YMAC CEO Simon Hawkins said, “The State Government grant is a good first step in involving Malgana Traditional Owners in the management of their traditional land and sea country in the Shark Bay area.” Currently, the majority of the Shark Bay area is classified as either: ‘National Park’, ‘Nature Reserve’, ‘Conservation Park’, ‘Marine Park’ or ‘Marine Nature Reserve’, and managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).
“Shark Bay has been recognised for its unique and outstanding environmental values, evidenced by its inclusion on both the National and World Heritages Lists, and this initiative has the potential to become a comprehensive Malgana-led land and sea management program for the entire Shark Bay area,” Mr Hawkins said.
“For many years, Malgana Traditional Owners have indicated their strong desire to be directly involved in managing the vast conservation estate in the Shark Bay area. Whether it’s through direct employment with the State agency responsible for conservation and land management, or through formal and legally binding partnerships involving the Traditional Owners and the State of Western Australia, these aspirations are gradually taking shape,” he said.
“It’s a positive outcome for the Malgana community that will generate local economic, training and employment opportunities, as well as generating environmental and cultural outcomes,” Mr Hawkins said.
The recently produced ‘Gutharraguda Land and Sea Country Management Plan’, endorsed by the Malgana Shark Bay People’s native title working group (‘Malgana Working Group’), clearly articulates some of these aspirations, alongside a set of values and assets, both natural and cultural.
The current funding will assist Malgana People to deliver some of their objectives as described in the ‘Gutharraguda Land and Sea Country Management Plan’, including:
- Set-up a Malgana reference group which will act as an interface between the wider Malgana community and all stakeholders with an interest in land and sea management in the Shark Bay area. This group will also form part of the negotiation team on behalf of Malgana People when Indigenous Land Use Agreement negotiations start in earnest with the State of Western Australia.
- Employ a Malgana Ranger within DBCA’s Denham office.
- Train six Malgana People (three females and three males) in accredited conservation and land management modules.
- Employ a Malgana person in a coordinating position to facilitate support, and manage the program.
YMAC is in the process of signing the funding agreement with the State Government, on behalf of the Malgana Shark Bay People’s Native Title Claim Group.
YMAC will support the Malgana on its projects and ensure Malgana People are directly involved in the decision-making and practical management of the cultural heritage and environmental assets on their Country.