Kooreelah is a 1044-hectare property 42 kilometres from Casterton in Victoria and is a joint investment effort between the ILC and Winda-Mara.
The announcement today delivers on the ILC’s commitment in supporting Indigenous benefits and economic empowerment across Australia. With new leadership and a renewed focus on its core mandate of delivering benefits to Indigenous people through land acquisition and management, the ILC plays a critical role in nation building by unlocking the vast potential of the Indigenous Estate.
Winda-Mara Chief Executive Officer Mr Michael Bell said the corporation has had a long and stable history which began in 1991, providing a large range of services throughout the South West region of Victoria.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved at Kooreelah. We have 75 Indigenous employees which is a significant achievement for a small rural community,” Mr Bell said.
“The grant of Kooreelah will continue to positively impact our community. More than 600 community members have access to the property, and our pasture renovation of more than 120 hectares provides for great economic and training opportunities.
“The grant of Kooreelah will allow Winda-Mara to continue to deliver a profitable beef fattening enterprise, skills development and employment for local Indigenous people. These have included 54 training outcomes and four new jobs, while supporting environmental benefits such as the planting of 5,000 native plants. The management of forestry assets will also provide long-term economic benefits.
“Winda-Mara have stocked Kooreelah with approximately 300 steers and provided ongoing improvements to the property, including many kilometres of fencing.
“The property is now available for community events, as well as being used in the training of staff and community members in farming and farm management,” Mr Bell said.
Winda-Mara Chairperson Roslyn Pevitt said the organisation is committed to being a leader for positive change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in South Western Victoria.
“Winda-Mara’s objectives include affordable housing, better health, improved education, creation of employment, strengthening wellbeing, management of lands and property,” Ms Pevitt said.
“Kooreelah allows us to further expand the opportunities that Winda-Mara has brought to South West Victoria, and allows us to expand our current steer fattening business while providing stable business and employment opportunities within the region for the whole community.”
ILC chairperson Mr Eddie Fry acknowledged Winda-Mara’s very successful three-years of operation at Kooreelah.
“The land purchase increases the Indigenous Estate and adds to Winda-Mara’s financial, social and cultural wellbeing to a level far greater than the value of the property,” Mr Fry said.
“This announcement and partnership with Winda-Mara is another example of the ILC creating commercial opportunities for Indigenous Australians through the sustainable ownership and management of more than 40 per cent of the country’s land mass and the assets they hold.
“We are incredibly excited about the future and direction of the Indigenous Estate.”
Notes to Editors:
The ILC contributed $1.3 million in land acquisition and costs, and in 2013, the ILC granted Winda-Mara $300,000 for infrastructure improvement. Winda-Mara provided the labour for all work at a cost of approximately $235,000.
Kooreelah was leased to Winda-Mara in 2013 after a successful expression of interest in operating the land for a cattle enterprise and social programme.
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