On country, caring for country
TAFE Queensland helps build knowledge, confidence and employability
- On 21 December 2015, 8,200 hectares of land was transferred to the Gunggandji-Mandingalbay Yidinji Peoples Prescribed Body Corporate (GMYPPBC) as alienable freehold under the Aboriginal Land Act (ALA) 1991 (QLD).
- Following the ALA transfer, the GMYPPBC became the Trustees and the Landowner for the transferred area. Approximately 80 per cent of the area (south of Yarrabah) is also covered by a World Heritage dedication, and the values of the area are culturally and ecologically significant. The management of these values and the natural environment are very important to the Gunggandji-Mandingalbay Yidinji People.
- The GMYPPBC sought and was awarded funding from the Queensland Government to establish a Ranger Program to create employment opportunities and deliver caring for country outcomes.
- TAFE Queensland is currently training eight future Rangers via Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management (AHC31416), with Rangers having now completed 12 of the 16 modules, and report really enjoying the experience.
The combined Gunggandji-Mandingalbay Yidinji Peoples’ land is located south of the Yarrabah community, and is one of the largest disadvantaged Aboriginal communities in Australia, with the majority of residents living below the poverty line. There is currently no industry and unemployment is extremely high.
In December 2020, the GMYPPBC obtained funding from the Queensland Government’s Reef Assist Program to establish a Ranger Project and deliver key caring for country priorities over a 12-month period. This project also provides a platform that reconnects and empowers Gunggandji and Mandingalbay Yidinji Trainee Rangers to build their self-esteem and confidence, while connecting with their culture through working on country.
The GMYPPBC Ranger Project commenced in February 2021 and employed 8 Gunggandji-Mandingalbay Yidinji Trainee Rangers and a Ranger Coordinator, who are supported by a local Project Mentor, Trainee Administration Officer and an experienced Executive Officer. Half of the GMYPPBC Trainee Ranger team – aged 21-45 had never been employed.
In addition to completing a selection of other relevant training activities (first-aid, water testing, chainsaws and fencing, to name a few), the Rangers are registered as Trainees with TAFE Queensland. The trainee rangers are currently undertaking a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management (AHC31416), with an additional administration trainee studying a Certificate III in Business Administration (BSB30415). They are all scheduled to be completed in late February 2022.
To this date the Rangers have finished 12 of the 16 modules. They’ve undertaken all of their training on-site with TAFE Queensland teachers, with the exception of three modules. These three (modules) were undertaken at the TAFE Queensland facility located in Walkamin.
“TAFE Queensland has been very accommodating with delivering our training program on site in Yarrabah and our team have enjoyed learning on country, and the variety of training.
“We are very pleased with the number of modules being undertaken within our schedule and available timeframe. The Rangers have very positive relationships with the TAFE Queensland teachers and look forward to their visits and training,” summarised Helen Tait, Executive Officer, GMYPPBC.
Ms Tait is keen to continue the partnership with TAFE Queensland, offering, “We recommend TAFE Queensland training to other Indigenous Ranger Groups and we’d also like to expand our capacity and development as our team continues to grow. Specifically; for members of our team to undertake a Certificate IV in Conservation and Land Management and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.”
“We would also like to work with TAFE Queensland to develop specialised Conservation and Land Management Training units specific to the delivery of Indigenous Ranger Programs in the future,” Ms Tait said.