Traditional Owners embrace reconciliation plan

March 5, 2018

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Pictured:  (L-R) QMDC Regional Coordinator Aboriginal Program Tim Knox, QMDC CEO Geoff Penton, Gungarri Elder Aunty Lynette Nixon and QMDC Chair Noel Strohfeld OAM celebrate the launch of QMDC’s Reconciliation Action Plan Innovate.

When Gungarri Elder Aunty Lynette Nixon officially launched the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee’s 'Reconciliation Action Plan - Innovate' in Goondiwindi on Thursday (1 March), you could hear in her voice what it meant to her as a woman from the Nation of Gungarri.

A founding member of QMDC’s Regional Aboriginal Advisory Group (RAAG), Aunty Lynette took much pride in launching the plan which has official endorsement from Reconciliation Australia.

“I believe myself and other members of the RAAG have demonstrated a strong commitment to reconciliation by supporting the QMDC Aboriginal Program over the last 10 years,” Mrs Nixon said.

“We have provided expert technical advice to the team when dealing with Aboriginal participation in NRM generally, engagement and protocols when engaging the Indigenous communities including the Traditional Custodians of our land.

“The Reconciliation Action Plan has a number of actions and targets that will measure the commitment of QMDC to reconciliation across the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin,” she said.

The plan was launched in the presence of representatives from Traditional Owner groups that make up the RAAG including the Kambuwal, Bigumbal, Kamilaroi, Kooma, Bidjara, Gungarri and Mandandanji peoples.

QMDC Aboriginal Program Regional Coordinator Tim Knox said the plan built on QMDC’s extensive history of working with the region’s Traditional Owners on landscapes, waterways and sites of cultural significance.

“It was readily recognised that as an organisation we have the responsibility to promote the importance of Aboriginal participation and reconciliation within our staff body and more broadly in the community, and so the plan has come to be,” Mr Knox said.

"This plan is really significant to not only QMDC but to the Traditional Owners, as it is the next step forward for reconciliation across the Murray-Darling Basin.

"We look forward to the implementation of a range of initiatives that support our goal of inclusion and the opportunity to build upon the relationships formed with the region’s Aboriginal peoples,” he said.

QMDC Executive Chairman Noel Strohfeld further commented that for many years, QMDC and its work in the area of natural resource management had benefited enormously from the involvement of the region’s Traditional Owners.

“Last year, the Executive Committee made a decision to formalise the range of Aboriginal involvement in our policies and activities, and our commitment to continue working with the region’s Traditional Owners through the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan under the guidance of Reconciliation Australia,” Mr Strohfeld said.

“We've taken that next step forward and look forward to bringing the plan to life with its many actions on the ground across the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin,” he added.

For more information, contact: QMDC Aboriginal Program Regional Coordinator Tim Knox 0459 948 955.

 

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