Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today said he was delighted that a Kimberley project that has been widely acclaimed is to be expanded and extended.
Since 2002 the Kimberley Indigenous Management Support Project has provided technical advice, mentoring and support services to Indigenous owned pastoral properties.
The project, a joint initiative of the WA Department of Agriculture and the Australian Government’s Indigenous Land Corporation, in partnership with Indigenous pastoral landowners, will now expand and move forward as the Kimberley Indigenous Management Support Service.
Approximately 25 pastoral properties in the Kimberley region have been acquired by Australian and State Government authorities on behalf of Aboriginal communities over the last 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.
Ms Shirley McPherson, ILC Chairperson, said “The ILC Board is extremely pleased with the progress of the initiative since 2002 when we first entered into a joint funding arrangement with the Department. The ILC is proud to support the 5 year extension of this $5m, joint, whole-of-government initiative, which will continue to meaningfully address many of the problems experienced by Indigenous pastoral lease-holders in the Kimberley.”
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 that 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 Australian Government cooperation in Indigenous economic development.
Senator David Johnston, representing Senator Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, said that the Australian Government was proud to be involved with a program that has demonstrated its success over the last three years. Projects such as this, which bring together all levels of Government and the local Indigenous community, are the best way to ensure that Indigenous communities have access to the resources they need to succeed.
Mr Chance was joined in Broome by Senator David Johnston, representing Senator Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Immigration Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Ms Shirley McPherson, Chairperson, Indigenous Land Corporation, and Kimberley Indigenous pastoralists to launch the project.
Minister Chance’s office: (08) 9213 6700, 0428 911 240.
Senator Johnston’s office: (08) 9478 2088
ILC: (08) 81007106; 0409 090 852