About the First Nations Landcare Working Group

 

Australia’s First Nations Peoples hold the key to healing the damage from hundreds of years of poor land and sea management practices across Australia and unlocking agricultural and environmental benefits for future generations.

A pioneer in environmental conservation and restoration, Landcare Australia is committed to listening to and amplifying, the voices of First Nations Peoples.

During the 2022 National Landcare Conference in Sydney, there was an overwhelming positive support from the delegates for all the First Nations presenters, rangers, land and sea managers. The event was pivotal to Landcare Australia establishing the First Nations Landcare Working Group, formally launched at Parliament House, Canberra on Monday March 27, 2023.

Landcare Australia, with its 35-year history of working with diverse stakeholders in environmental conservation, recognised the need to strengthen ties between First Nations people and landcare. The First Nations Landcare Working Group is guiding Landcare Australia in its mission to support farmers, youth, women, landcare groups, and conservation community groups in connecting with Cultural land and sea management practices.

Landcare Australia’s commitment to fostering collaboration with First Nations people and organisations through the First Nations Landcare Working Group marks a significant step towards achieving environmental sustainability in Australia. The integration of Traditional ecological knowledge and practices promises to create a brighter, more ecologically sustainable future for the nation, fostering mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation among all Australians.

For the First Nations Landcare Working Group Strategy click here.

For the First Nations Landcare Working Group Terms of Reference click here.

The First Nations Landcare Working Group Members

Gail Adamson-Reynolds is a descendant of the Wadjuri peoples which is on the eastern boarder of the Nyungar Nation, (Esperance) she is also a descendant of the Mirrning People (“Whale people”) her mother’s country which stretches along the southern coast of WA to the South Australian border.

Gail is the Chairperson of the Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (ETNTAC), a position she has held since the Corporation’s establishment in 2015.

She is also the Chairperson of Southeast Aboriginal Health Service, Board member on Horizon Power board, Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation, Board member on Indigenous Land and Sea Council, member of the South-west Marine Parks Advisory Committee and recently appointed to the First Nations Landcare Working Group.

Gail was a previous board member of Indigenous Business Australia and a Chairperson of Goldfields Esperance Development Commission.

She also runs her own business, a specialist training and consultancy company that works with Government, corporates, and mining companies such as Rio Tino and Woodside to engage with and work with first nations people.

Ricky Archer is a Djungan man from the Western Tablelands region of North Qld.

Ricky has a strong network of on ground land and sea managers across northern Australia from which to draw from and has demonstrated an ability to connect on-ground work of Indigenous organisations with regional, state and commonwealth priorities.

In his current role, Ricky is the Chief Executive Officer of the North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA). He is involved with numerous organisations and committees enabling strategic input across a diverse field.

Ricky has a background in geographical information systems, Indigenous knowledge management, and natural & cultural resource management and as a ranger. He is passionate about the advancement and improvement of Indigenous livelihoods across the north.

Dhani Gilbert is a proud Kalari (Lachlan River) Wiradjuri young woman who’s focused on achieving just and sustainable outcomes for First Nations Peoples, Country, community, and young people.

Dhani is currently a second-year university student studying a double degree at the Australian National University and a graduate certificate at Charles Sturt University. She is also the Co-chair of the ACT Youth Advisory Council, a community outreach educator with the Woodlands & Wetlands Trust and working with young women in ACT schools to facilitate culturally safe learning and community connection through weaving workshops.

Dhani has a solid cultural education and has grown up involved in Caring for Country practices inclusive of seed harvesting, cultural burning, weed eradication work, native vegetation restoration and student led First Nations plant use projects.

Dhani is a community driven young person passionate about doing what she can where she can to address inequality, First Nations injustice, protect our environment, empower young people, and contribute to lasting change that allows all people to thrive and flourish.

Ultimately, Dhani empowers other young people to participate widely in their community, whilst also being a part of positive social change in educational spaces, cultural education and in ecological recovery actions in the ACT.

Barry J Hunter is a descendant of the Djabugay speaking people of Cairns hinterland. He grew up besides the Barron River in the rainforest near Kuranda.

Barry has over 30 years’ experience in Aboriginal affairs, particularly in areas of land, natural and cultural resource management. Barry’s employment includes appointments in government conservation agencies, mining and exploration industry, community and not-for-profit organisations, and more recently, managing Carbon projects and exploring new economies, biodiversity and offsets.

He has run a successful consulting business for the past 10 years, working in areas including Indigenous economic, community and social development, Indigenous land management and cultural heritage, and reviews of government-funded programs.

With a Bachelor of Applied Science from Charles Sturt University, Barry is passionate about building community capacity and planning that delivers sustainable social, cultural, and economic outcomes. He also has a real interest in the work community rangers do in looking after land, fire management, and cultural heritage.

Barry is currently Executive Carbon Manager at Northern Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) where he is leading NAILSMA’s Carbon Portfolio. 

Natalie Sommerville lives and works on Ngadjuri Country in South Australia’s Mid North and is a farmer, grazier, business owner, mother and mentor. Nat’s connections to Wagadagam clan of Mabuyag of the Torres Strait Islands through her father’s side provides her with a cultural lens in all that she does.

Nat with her husband Dane and 2 children manage their farming business Windjara Ag and have been farming in the mid north for almost 20 years, developing strong relationships with the local traditional owners over this time.

Driven by her passion for sustainable agriculture, the environment and social justice, Nat’s focus is on influencing positive change in rural Australia and seeing greater innovation, inclusion of gender and age, and respect for diverse backgrounds. She is passionate about sharing her farming, cultural and social knowledge and experiences to improve outcomes for both current and future generations.

Nat creates time to mentor Aboriginal students in local schools and ensures she volunteers for community and industry boards at local, state and national levels. This includes National Farmers Federation, Australian Women in Agriculture, SA Ag Excellence Alliance, Landcare Australia First Nations Landcare Working Group, and the local NAIDOC committee just to name a few.

Suzanne Thompson was born and raised in Barcaldine. Her custodial connection to Country has been continuous and carries on the work of her father, the late David Thompson, and Great Grandparents David and Clara, all of whom had traditional custodial links to the lands of the Kunngeri/Iningai & Bidjera peoples.

With 20 years of experience in government and community sectors, she has become a pioneer for social and economic empowerment, trade and Indigenous self-determination and is passionate about finding innovative ways to create partnerships between indigenous and non-indigenous cultures.

As the Founder and Managing Director of Yambangku Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development Aboriginal Corporation (YACHATDAC) – which manages a 22,000-acre Property in Outback Central Western Queensland – Suzanne is redefining the very idea of social enterprise and appropriate cultural trading methods that will ensure a safe and transparent economic future for Indigenous people.

She volunteers her time as the Chair of the Australian Native Foods and Botanicals (ANFAB) National Peak body and is working directly to secure Indigenous interests and right in this rapidly expanding global marketplace.

Suzanne is currently fostering support and investment for nature-based economies, including Indigenous Land Management, Carbon Farming and First Foods and Medicines, and the recognition, protection, and renumeration of Indigenous intellectual knowledge by industry.

More recently, Suzanne was appointed to the Central Western Queensland Ministerial Round Table for her invaluable insights and connections to Regional Outback Queensland. 

Rene Woods is a Nari Nari man from southwest New South Wales. He has had a long involvement Gayini (water) for Aboriginal people across the Basin. He grew up on the Murrumbidgee River where the river was always central to his family, his community, and their way of life.

Rene is a strong advocate for First Nation people in the Basin and has worked in communities in both the public and non-government organisation sectors of the Basin. He is currently employed by the Nature Conservancy Australia as a Conservation Officer and has seen what can happen for communities that have Gayini and land under their ownership and control.

He believes that together we can achieve a strong healthy river system and healthier communities. He works with his Nari Nari Elders to make sure their views are incorporated into Gayini (water) planning within the state and Basin.

Rene was the first Aboriginal person appointed to the Murray Darling Basin Authority Board in December 2020.

Doug Humann AM, GAICD, BA (Hons), Dip ED, was appointed chairman of Landcare Australia in 2016. With more than 40 years involvement in regional Australia, including 30 years leadership experience in the environmental sector, Doug led Bush Heritage Australia (1997–2011) to national prominence before establishing his own consultancy. Doug is primarily engaged with non-government organisations, Indigenous groups and natural resource management/catchment management authorities. Doug provides advice and support on a range of strategic, investment, project and governance matters, and is particularly involved in building partnerships, collaborations and mentoring.

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