Project bringing science and traditional knowledge together in northern Australia wraps up

Article by Jarred Cross for National Indigenous Times

The Federal Government’s National Indigenous Australians Agency and land rights peak body the National Native Title Council hope cooperation of tradition and science continues to empower Indigenous communities after the recent end of a long-running project.

In 2017 national science agency the CSIRO partnered with First Nations stakeholders to develop projects for developing business opportunities in northern Australia.

In the five years since, tourism, pastoralism and environmental management have been key areas of focus for collaboration between First Nations organisations, research institutions and industry.

NNTC chief executive and Gundjitmara Djabwurrung man Jamie Lowe said the partnership was grounded in collaborations in North Queensland and Western Australia and had built a foundation of case studies; developing “how to” information to support First Nation on-country development elsewhere.

At Peedamulla, in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, the local Jundaru and Ashburton Aboriginal Corporations will take case studies into future environment management efforts.

Jundaru Aboriginal Council senior custodian Trevor Parker said the project added to existing pastoral knowledge for sustainability and future business opportunity.

“Economic development is vital to our future” he said.

“It has helped us identify and test new development options on our pastoral lease.”

CSIRO’s Taryn Kong said the shared expertise and strategic consultancy helped to address wetland erosion on Peedamulla’s pastoral operations.

For the Ewanian Aboriginal Corporation in northern Queensland, the collaboration culminated in the successful Taraloo Hot Springs development launched in 2021.

The nearby Western Yalanki Aboriginal Corporation similarly engaged with the CSIRO to map tourism potential in the area.

The CSIRO wrapped the project up earlier this year, with a full report on the partnership and on-Country development published last month.

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