Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today announced that a Kimberley project providing support services to indigenous landowners is to be expanded and extended.
Since 2002 the Kimberley Indigenous Management Support Project has provided technical advice, mentoring and support services to indigenous owners of pastoral properties.
The project, a joint initiative of the WA Department of Agriculture and the Commonwealth’s Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), in partnership with indigenous pastoral landowners, will now expand and move forward as the Kimberley Indigenous Management Support Service.
About 25 pastoral properties in the Kimberley region have been acquired by Commonwealth and State Government authorities on behalf of Aboriginal communities during the past 30 years.
The properties have been acquired in recognition of traditional ownership, to provide an independent economic base or to provide community living areas for Aboriginal people.
However, for reasons often connected with the circumstances of their acquisition, the properties as a group have performed below the general industry standard.
“After two-and-a-half years of operation, the Kimberley project has demonstrated that it is possible to lift the performance of properties, especially where there is an adequate asset base from which to work and where a clear landholder commitment to enterprise-building exists,” Mr Chance said.
The success of the original project was recognised when it was awarded the WA Premier’s Award for Public Sector Excellence in November 2004.
ILC chairperson Shirley McPherson said the ILC Board was extremely pleased with the progress of the initiative since 2002, when it first entered into a joint funding arrangement with the department.
“The ILC is proud to support this important whole-of-government initiative, which has successfully addressed some of the problems experienced by indigenous pastoral lease-holders in WA,” Ms McPherson said.
During the next five years it is proposed that the service team will consist of six people, who will operate from bases in Broome, Derby and Kununurra. The team is designed to include Aboriginal people with a pastoral industry background who have good links within the Kimberley indigenous pastoral community.
Mr Chance said the operation of the project and the joint commitment to further work over the next five years also stood as an excellent example of State and Commonwealth co-operation in Indigenous economic development.
“The Gallop Government is providing new opportunities for Western Australians,” he said.
The Minister was joined in Broome by Senator David Johnston, representing Senator Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, ILC chairperson Ms Shirley McPherson and Kimberley indigenous pastoralists to launch the project.
Minister's office: 9213 6700