Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (ETNTAC) will be able to create an accessible hub for the local community, after being granted a new home by the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC).
The organisation, which represents the Traditional Owners of Esperance Nyungar country, applied for funding for the purchase and fit-out of an Esperance property to enable it to bring all its services under one roof and plan to expand operations in the future.
ETNTAC CEO Peter Bednall said their new home was more than just a building.
“We are creating a community-owned space,” he said. “It’s a meeting place to foster cultural, social and environmental values, and we need bricks and mortar to deliver that.
“This place will be a hub for the community and enable us to positively engage with our members to strengthen cultural ties.
“We take a holistic approach to reaffirming our members’ connection to country while empowering participation in culturally secure business enterprise, and this new base will underpin our sustainability.”
The ILSC has granted ETNTAC $759,000 to acquire and redesign the property, which is located at the Activ Foundation’s former site in Esperance.
With a permanent base and additional storage space, ETNTAC will be able to implement plans to employ up to 25 additional Indigenous rangers and other staff as part of its Tjaltjraak land and sea enterprise programs.
ILSC Group CEO Joe Morrison said assisting the continued growth of ETNTAC was a great example of the corporation fulfilling its purpose to support the land needs of Indigenous Australians.
“The role of ETNTAC as a vehicle for Traditional Owners to be agents for enterprises on their country is vital and its success evident in the growth of its land and sea enterprise programs,” he said.
“The ILSC hopes this new permanent home creates greater security while continuing to support Traditional Owners realise their cultural, social and economic aspirations in the Esperance region.
“While the ILSC is proud to have played a role in supporting the achievement we must also acknowledge the leadership of ETNTAC who identified and secured an asset that will support their future expansion.”
ETNTAC chairperson Gail Reynolds-Adamson said the new base would enable the organisation to carry out its core mandates.
“Our ancestors successfully managed country in a sustainable way for thousands of years,” she said. “In the new era of Tjaltjraak, we are rebuilding our relationship with country and rekindling cultural practices, and now we have a new home to enable us to do this.”
The property’s storage facilities will be used for farming equipment and as a seed storage and processing area for the Tjaltjraak rangers’ new seed collection enterprise, while the money saved on rent will allow the organisation to expand its operations.
A divestment ceremony is being held on country on Tuesday, 27 July to officially hand the property over, which will include a smoking ceremony, Welcome to Country, cultural dance performance and tour of the facility.