The Tamworth Aboriginal Land Council has recently gained $111,422 worth of funding as part of a $2 million dollar Coalition Government program to help local communities and regions prepare for major bushfires.
The Gamilaroi Cultural Burning Network project, developed by the Tamworth Aboriginal Land Council, aims to explore cultural knowledge of Aboriginal fire management, increase the understanding of local landscapes, flora and fauna and interactions with cultural burning. This will be achieved by holding three Indigenous-led workshops incorporating cultural burning education and on-site demonstrations on different areas of land in the region.
New England MP Barnaby Joyce proudly supports the sharing of knowledge and experiences through indigenous-led workshops and initiatives in the New England.
“We’ve always had a continual program of connecting the Gamilaroi people back to their heritage – whether that is through language or through cultural practices because that is such a fundamental part of who we are as people from New England”.
Cultural burning or ‘cool burning’ is part of how Aboriginal people look after country. The millennia-old tradition of fire management is an application of cool and quick burns that preserve the canopy and ensure potentially dangerous fuel for mega-bushfires is controlled.
In recent times, Australia has seen catastrophic bushfires completely devastate the country. The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommended more conventional firefighting agencies engage with Indigenous people to explore use of the practice and harness thousands of years of Indigenous land management knowledge.
“Traditional Owner groups will hold workshops across the country sharing their knowledge with local land managers, local fire services and councils to identify different types of burns and the ideal weather conditions for protecting native flora and fauna during burns,” Mr Joyce said.
“There are many ways that we can help our local environment recover and help protect it in the future, and these workshops will play an important role in that process.”
The three different regions, Tamworth, Gunnedah and Walhallow, will develop a fire seasons calendar as well as a network of Gamilaroi nation groups to help improve connection to Country and intergenerational teaching opportunities within the community.
The projects are to be completed by April 2022.