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    Working Together with Aboriginal Communities during NAIDOC

    Landcare NSW today celebrated a new look for the ‘Working Together’ Aboriginal Landcare Engagement Program to mark NAIDOC Week.

    Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit, says the initiative within the NSW Landcare Program will increase opportunities to consciously develop stronger connections and partnerships between Landcare groups and Aboriginal Communities.

    “The Aboriginal Landcare Engagement Program is part of the NSW Landcare Program, a $22.4 million investment co-delivered by Landcare NSW and NSW Local Land Services and supported by the NSW Government,” said Dr Zammit.

    “Many Landcare groups have been working and collaborating successfully with Aboriginal Communities in local and regional contexts for many years. The goal of this program is to build further engagement between grassroots Landcare and Aboriginal communities across NSW.

    “This program will provide a state-wide framework to support Aboriginal People to have a voice within Landcare; connect them with local Landcare Communities; and help share Traditional Land Management approaches.”

    Driving the program is Community Landcare Aboriginal Engagement Officer Craig Aspinall who has been tasked with providing support and advice to Landcare NSW in developing mutually beneficial engagement and strengthened relations between Aboriginal Organisations and Landcare at local, regional and state levels across NSW.

    “Since I commenced in the role in May 2020, numerous Landcare Groups have expressed their interest and desire in collaborating with Aboriginal people in some way. In many cases, people have a good idea of what they want to do. Some examples have included joint on-ground projects, interpretive signage, Welcome to Country & Cultural Workshops at a major local event, a cultural awareness activity for local Landcarers, a digital tool that can be used to record Aboriginal sites, an Aboriginal nursery supplying plants to Landcare – the list of ideas and options is countless,” said Mr Aspinall.

    “Local people know their landscape, their stakeholders and their opportunities.

    “The thing that excites me most is the prospect of facilitating opportunities for local Aboriginal and Landcare communities to collaborate, learn and share.”

    Today the NSW Landcare Program unveiled the new-look branding for the initiative which will provide an identity and instil a sense of pride within NSW Aboriginal and Landcare communities.

    A judging panel, formed by a Steering Committee, had the very challenging task of selecting a winner from so many wonderful Aboriginal artists from all over NSW.

    The artwork titled “Working Together” was created by winning artist Jason Ridgeway - a proud Aboriginal artist from the Dunghutti Nation on the NSW Mid North Coast.

    In describing his artwork, Jason said: “Working as one we will achieve all goals set in place to enjoy a beautiful future and keep our connections strong. If we don’t have a connection to country, then we don’t belong. Our land is precious - if we look after it, it will in return look after us. We as a people need to work together to help heal and look after changes to the land.”

    Also announced was the launch of the “Working Together” Small Grants Program.

    The small grants program seeks to support locally-driven collaboration activities to ensure that Aboriginal people become more immersed in the Landcare movement in NSW.

    Grants of up to $2,000 are available to Aboriginal organisations and/or Landcare NSW Member Groups located within NSW.

    To provide an additional incentive for Aboriginal communities to maintain ongoing engagement with the Landcare movement, successful applicants who are identified as an Aboriginal entity will also receive one year’s membership of Landcare NSW, which includes access to the full range of  member benefits.

    The NAIDOC 2020 Theme: “Always Was, Always Will Be.” recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. The NAIDOC theme acknowledges the original carers of the land, so it is even more special to us in the Landcare movement that we celebrate our own journey towards true Landcare and Aboriginal collaboration.

    Information about NAIDOC, its history and events can be found at www.naidoc.org.au

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