Investment supports First Nations jobs on Country

Three Big Rivers team (from left) Kai Martin-Savage, Ethan Upkitt, Cade Wells and Tyrese Nellimane.

A $1.37 million Queensland Government investment will enable young First Nations people to connect with Country while helping to improve land condition and reducing sediment run-off.

The funding enables delivery of a second phase of the NQ Dry Tropics Healing Country project for two years. The project is funded through the Queensland Government’s $33.5 million Reef Assist program under the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program and is led by NQ Dry Tropics and delivered by partners Three Big Rivers, Gudjuda Aboriginal Corporation Limited, and Biodiversity Australia.

Team members will work on sediment control activities on grazing properties, primarily small gully repair, to reduce sediment runoff from the Burdekin catchment and improving water quality flowing into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Since the initial project launched in 2020, project team members, many identifying as First Nations, gained practical on-ground work experience and gained skills through an accredited environmental training program.

NQ Dry Tropics NRM Implementation Manager Brett King said the new funding was good news for the Burdekin region.

“The first iteration of the Healing Country project was successful. It provided training and work experiences which resulted in the original participants finding permanent employment,” Mr King said.

“Additional funding will provide opportunities for more young First Nations people to connect with Country, while gaining important work and life skills, combined with on-ground action for Reef water quality,” he said.