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.

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

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

Wajarri Yamatji Achieve Native Title Recognition

Posted: October 20th, 2017

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On Thursday 19 October 2017, the Wajarri Yamatji community celebrated Native Title recognition at an on-Country Federal Court hearing held on Wooleen Station. Over 300 people attended to witness the historic occasion, that had taken over 20 years to achieve.

Wajarri people proudly showing their consent determination

Wajarri people proudly showing their consent determination

The consent determination covers the majority of the Wajarri Yamatji claim area (68,743 square kilometres of the total 97,676 square kilometres). The area encompasses parts of the Shires of Meekatharra, Mount Magnet, Murchison, Upper Gascoyne, Cue and Yalgoo; as well as 56 pastoral leases.

The journey to this native title determination commenced in 1995 and has involved the coming together of many families to achieve native title recognition. The Wajarri people have inhabited their Country since time immemorial, and have continued to look after their Country. Through their culture and knowledge, Wajarri people have maintained a deep connection to their land that continues to be passed on through the generations.

Mr Simon Hawkins, Chief Executive Officer of 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.”

Media Release: Wajarri Yamatji Achieve Native Title Recognition

Budina People Celebrate Native Title Win

Posted: October 17th, 2017

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Budina Native Title Determination

Budina Native Title Determination

The Budina community is today celebrating the legal recognition of their land and culture at an on-Country Federal Court hearing at Lyndon Pastoral Station. The event was co-hosted by Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) and Budina Aboriginal Corporation (BAC).

The Budina are a small but close community who have continuously maintained their association with Country. The Budina People continue to look after their Country and pass on cultural knowledge through traditional law and traditional customs.

His Honour Justice Griffiths congratulated the parties involved in the native title determination process.

Clive Lyndon, Budina Elder said, “This is an important outcome for the Budina and I’m so glad to see so many people could make it out here to celebrate with us. I’d like to thank YMAC for all of the work that they have done…”

YMAC CEO Simon Hawkins said, “The Budina determination is a great outcome for a beautiful group of people. Justice Griffiths took a very personal approach to conducting the Court hearing that was enjoyed by everyone present. I’d like to acknowledge the great relationship between the Budina people and the Lyndon Station owners, Sean and Cathy Darcy. This is a unique relationship and the wonderful celebrations are a credit to everyone involved.”

Media release: Budina Celebrate Native Title Win

Kariyarra People celebrate landmark agreement

Posted: October 2nd, 2017

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Kariyarra ILUA

Kariyarra People celebrate the signing of the Indigenous Landuse Agreement with the State of Western Australia

YMAC congratulates the Kariyarra People and the State of Western Australia on the signing of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA), which occurred this morning in Port Hedland. This is a landmark occasion deserving of celebration.

Since 2011, the Kariyarra Working Group members (on behalf of the Kariyarra People) were represented by YMAC, and have been working with expert consultants and government staff across many departments to achieve this landmark ILUA. The agreement offers a benefits package worth $38 million to empower Kariyarra People to end intergenerational poverty and help their families get ahead. The State of Western Australia approved the Kariyarra-State ILUA in Cabinet on 31 July 2017.

Diana Robinson, Kariyarra Elder states, “The ILUA negotiation has been a long, challenging journey that has changed the way we see ourselves and empowered us to create a better future for our people.”

YMAC CEO Simon Hawkins states, “YMAC’s goal is to empower Aboriginal people take a leadership role in their communities to achieve the outcomes they want for themselves. We support our stakeholders to live and work towards a dignified, self-reliant life. On behalf of the staff and Directors of YMAC, I congratulate the Kariyarra and the State of Western Australia, and celebrate with them on this historic occasion.”

YMAC media release: Kariyarra celebrate ILUA

Hon. Rita Saffioti (Minister for Transport, Planning, Lands) and Hon. Ben Wyatt (Treasurer, Minister for Finance, Aboriginal Affairs) statement: Ministers’ Statement

Expressions of Interest for Aboriginal Ranger Program

Posted: September 26th, 2017

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The State Government is developing an Aboriginal Ranger Program to create jobs and training and community development opportunities for Aboriginal people across a range of tenures in regional and remote communities across Western Australia. The Government has committed $20 million to the program over five years, which will see $4 million available each year to Aboriginal organisations, corporations and ranger groups.

The Government recognises the social, cultural and environmental benefits of Aboriginal ranger programs and is aware of the excellent work that has already been undertaken by established Aboriginal ranger groups throughout the State. Such programs have provided an integral step towards improved community wellbeing and reducing poverty through economic opportunities and building leadership in remote and regional communities.

Commencing in 2017-18, the program will train and employ Aboriginal people as rangers to undertake land and sea management activities including:

  • biodiversity monitoring and research
  • traditional knowledge transfer
  • fire management
  • cultural site management
  • feral animal and weed management
  • cultural awareness and immersion experiences
  • tourism management
  • education programs and mentoring.

The program will also assist Aboriginal communities to identify land management priorities and opportunities, build community and organisational capacity and invest in direct training opportunities.

 Expressions of Interest for the first round of funding is now open. Applications must be completed and submitted by 31 October 2017.

For more information, please visit the website: Aboriginal Ranger Program

United Voice for Pilbara Aboriginal People

Posted: September 26th, 2017

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Yule River 2017 Panel

2017 on-Country Bush Meeting Day 2 Panel Q&A

The 4th annual on-Country Bush Meeting at the Yule River meeting place was held on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 September 2017. It was a great gathering of Traditional Owners, Members of Parliament (MPs) and government officials.

YMAC uses the on-Country bush meeting to focus on the priority concerns of the Pilbara Aboriginal people. The Yule River meeting brings together community members to discuss legislative changes that impact them, and to gives them the chance to speak directly to Members of Parliament (MP). For some who attend, it is the first time they are given this type of opportunity. Despite the hot (40 degrees), dry, dusty conditions, over 400 people attended both meeting days.

A presentation from Hon. Ben Wyatt MLA (Treasurer, Minister for Finance, and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) was warmly received by all. Short presentations were also made by Hon. Stephen Dawson MLC (Minister for Environment; Disability Services, and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council), Senator Patrick Dodson and Hon. Robin Chapple MLC (Member for Mining and Pastoral Region). An open Q&A session followed the presentations from the MPs, with questions and comments from the crowd focused heavily on language preservation and the poor portrayal of Aboriginal people in the media.

The key resolution from this year’s meeting is that the Traditional Owners will form an independent representative group to give advice to the government on behalf of Pilbara Aboriginal people. This is an historic achievement because, for the first time, the Traditional Owners themselves have set aside their language groups and native title issues to act as a united Voice for the purposes of advancing their agenda with the Government. Other issues that were raised with the MPs were:

  • language preservation;
  • improving education in the Pilbara;
  • improving health services – mental, renal and men’s health;
  • supporting a treaty with the State Government;
  • improving housing services for Aboriginal Pilbara people;
  • strong opposition to the introduction of the Cashless Welfare Card; and
  • Aboriginal heritage protection.

In addition to a State Treaty, the Traditional Owners also wholeheartedly endorse the Statement from the Heart. Collectively, they passed a resolution, “We historically made our voice strong in the Pilbara today. Now we historically join with other First Nations in calling on our WA State and Federal Government to fully commit to a process towards Voice, Treaty and Truth.”

The Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River is a forum that allows YMAC to drive outcomes from the momentum gained on the ground.

We have already started planning for next year. Please save the dates: 11-12 July 2018.