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CHANGING LIVES: Participants in a unique partnership between Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council and TAFE NSW, which aims to assist in helping the whole community forge a deeper understanding of the land.
An inspiring partnership between TAFE NSW and a unique Aboriginal community will help forge a deeper understanding of the land for generations to come, stakeholders say.
The Wreck Bay Caring for Country Rangers Project has seen nine rangers recruited to help manage Aboriginal land around Wreck Bay, part of the Jervis Bay Territory and Australia’s only Aboriginal community that owns its land by freehold title.
The rangers are mid-way through a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management at TAFE NSW to help expand their hands-on skills and knowledge as custodians of the land.
Funded by the Australian Government National Indigenous Australians Agency, TAFE NSW has partnered with Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council (WBACC) to deliver the training.
WBACC CEO Anne-Marie Farrugia said the project could have profound flow-on benefits for both the Aboriginal and broader communities.
“It’s important to have this formal training, which can support existing knowledge participants have learned through a lifetime of living on Aboriginal land and caring for country,” Ms Farrugia said.
“It’s partly about learning the western scientific side to complement the Aboriginal science.
“These are skills they can pass on to tourists in the area and to future generations.”
Units included in the specially tailored course include identifying plant specimens, controlling weeds, reading and interpreting maps and collecting native seeds.
TAFE NSW Aboriginal Engagement Coordinator Mark King said the groundbreaking partnership could provide a framework for partnerships with other Aboriginal lands councils across the state.
“It’s a great way for them to build capacity of staff in land conservation and management, and there’s no reason it couldn’t be a model for other lands councils,” Mr King said.
“Aboriginal people have always been custodians of the land and this is a great way to help mix that traditional knowledge with modern science.”
To find out more about studying conservation and land management at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, Communications Specialist