Country, Culture, People, Future


State Government grants funding for Malgana Country Management Program

Posted: February 14th, 2018

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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.

Shark Bay Science Centre brings employment, business opportunities

Posted: January 25th, 2018


Bush Heritage Australia (Bush Heritage) is seeking to develop a close and productive working relationship with the Malgana community. Bush Heritage is one of Australia’s largest and most effective conservation organisations.

Best-practice science and collaborations with others, particularly Traditional Owners, are what define its approach to conservation.

In 2014, the Malgana native title claim group supported Bush Heritage’s purchase of Hamelin Station Reserve, on the edge of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. This support was given under the understanding that Bush Heritage would continue to engage with Malgana Traditional Owners to advance their social, economic and cultural interests, including providing training and employment opportunities. Bush Heritage continues to have these discussions with the Malgana community on several fronts.

Now, Bush Heritage is looking to develop a world class research and educational facility on Hamelin Station. Called ‘The Shark Bay Science Centre’, it will offer unique science, business, employment and community engagement opportunities in the Shark Bay region. The Malgana community is invited to express preliminary interest in these opportunities (business, employment and community engagement).

The Shark Bay Science Centre will promote improved knowledge and understanding of this unique landscape. And, it is hoped that, in partnership with the Malgana community, this centre will celebrate and include a strong focus of the region’s Aboriginal cultural values, history and continuing use and living culture.

Subject to successful fundraising, the facility will result in more visitors to the Shark Bay area and subsequent opportunities for regional economic growth and employment.

The employment opportunities will be broad, ranging from direct employment to associated business partnerships such as:

  • educational or interpretive services such as tours, talks and the creation of cultural displays;
  • construction-related trades such as carpentry and landscaping;
  • hospitality services such as housekeeping and catering; and
  • land management-related activities.

Other innovative ideas for participation are also welcomed.

Bush Heritage has contracted O’Neill Business Services to seek interest from the community throughout January 2018, with assistance from a Gascoyne Development Commission grant. For more information or to express interest, contact: or 0428 250 906.

Beyond January 2018 please contact Bush Heritage Australia directly via or 1300 628 873.

Shark Bay women help gather important information on endangered loggerhead turtles

Posted: January 25th, 2018

Aboriginal women from Shark Bay have been involved in tagging endangered loggerhead turtles on Dirk Hartog Island, off WA’s Gascoyne coast, for the first time.

Bianca McNeair, who is one of the six women from Shark Bay, said it had been an amazing opportunity to be part of the turtle monitoring program. “We get to learn the other half of the information that we didn’t get to learn that we would’ve learned traditionally,” Ms McNeair said. “We also get to put together the information that our elders taught us when we were younger, and be able to say ah okay, so that’s why, you know, they told us to do things this way.”

The Department of Parks and Wildlife, which looks after the island, acknowledges the important partnership. “We get to learn from them as much as they do from us,” Shark Bay district ranger Dale Fitzgerald said. “[It is] really important to understand their desires and their values for these species and the land.”

The group monitored and tagged the turtles all through the night for four nights, often walking about 15 kilometres, but this did not seem to faze any of them. “You don’t even get tired. It’s just that excitement that keeps pushing you on,” Nykita McNeair said.

Read the full news article here: ABC MidWest News

Grants to protect Aboriginal sites

Posted: January 10th, 2018

Indigenous not-for-profit organisations from across Western Australia have been invited to apply for a share of $250,000 in grants to support the protection, preservation and promotion of the state’s Aboriginal sites.

The funding will be provided through the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage’s Preserving Our Aboriginal Sites Grants Program.

Previously funded projects include graffiti removal from rock art sites, installation of fences to protect restricted sites, and interpretation projects to promote awareness of Aboriginal heritage.

A maximum of $30,000 per funding application is available.

Applications close at 4pm on 14 February 2018. For more details visit:

Wajarri Yamatji Native Title Determination

Posted: January 9th, 2018

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The Wajarri Yamatji community celebrates the legal recognition of their land and culture at an on-Country Federal Court hearing at Wooleen Station in regional Western Australia, held on Thursday 19 October 2017. The consent determination is one of the largest in Australia. Mr Simon Hawkins, Chief Executive Officer of Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) said, “There are many stakeholders involved in the native title process. On behalf of the Board of Directors and everyone at YMAC, I would like to acknowledge the State, the Federal Court, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the National Native Title Tribunal, pastoralists, mining companies and all other parties for their cooperation and hard work over the past two decades to achieve this historic outcome. Congratulations everyone.”

Please use this link to watch the YouTube video: Wajarri Yamatji Determination

Geraldton Men’s Talking Circle

Posted: December 19th, 2017

The Festive season is a difficult time for many in our community and getting together and having a yarn is always important.

Geraldton Streetwork Aboriginal Corporation invites Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys in our community to come together at our centre in Rangeway for a yarn, some food and listen to some music from local talented musician “Mr Craig (Chook) Pickett” and friends.

Day: Tuesday 19th December 2017
Time: 5pm onwards
Place: GSAC (Streeties), Eastward Road Rangeway in Bundiyarra Complex
Contact Project Coordinator Merrilyn Green on 08 9921 2890

This project has been funded by WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) Midwest.

YMAC News Issue 34

Posted: November 29th, 2017

YMAC News Issue 34 is available to view online and download. In this issue, we celebrate three native title determinations, a land use agreement, launch a partnership in renewable energy, achieve a historic resolution at the Annual on-Country Bush Meeting and present at a Senate Committee Hearing on the Cashless Debit Card. Read it now: YMAC News Issue 34

Yule River 2017 Video

Posted: October 30th, 2017

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The 4th Annual on-Country bush Meeting at Yule River meeting place was held on 20-21 September 2017. The community passed three historic resolutions, one of which is the formation of an Independent Advisory Group to act on behalf of Aboriginal Pilbara People during government consultation on issues that impact their families.

YMAC Annual Report available for download

Posted: October 26th, 2017

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Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation is pleased to release its annual report for the financial year 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017.

Please use the link to view the document on line or to download the PDF version: YMAC Annual Report 2017