Chloe Lucas chloe.lucas at crcreef.com
Fri Feb 4 09:29:18 EST 2005

CRC Reef Research Centre MEDIA RELEASE     4 February 2005


Representatives from three Aboriginal groups in Queensland have shared their vision for working with government agencies to manage their 'sea country' in a new report published by CRC Reef. The report highlights Traditional Owners' extensive knowledge of marine and coastal resource management.  

The report compiles 'case studies' from Traditional Owners from Gooreng Gooreng, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, Ambiilmungu Ngarra Aboriginal Corporation and Balkanu Cape York Development Agency.

"Our sea country is a great place, and a lot of people like to visit. We want to make sure that we're working effectively with management agencies to look after our sea country together," said Mr Philip Rist, CEO of Girringun Aboriginal Corporation. 

The case study by Girringun focuses on tourism impacts in the Hinchinbrook Channel and Cardwell area. One of the ways Girringun are working with agencies to manage these impacts is through the Cardwell Indigenous Ranger Unit, which is a partnership between Girringun, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The case study also sets out Girringun's aspirations for increasing collaboration in the future.
Mervyn Jukarn Johnson presented a case study on behalf of the Gooreng Gooreng Traditional Owners. He documents Indigenous connections to places throughout the Gooreng Gooreng coastal country in the Bundaberg-Gladstone area, as well as his people's awareness of how water quality and the coastal landscape have changed, and their strong interest in sharing the management of their sea and coastal country with government agencies. 

Ambiilmungu Ngarra Aboriginal Corporation and Balkanu Cape York Development Agency wrote a case study together to provide a starting point for discussion about shared management of land and sea country in the Princess Charlotte Bay area. It explores the management issues that are significant to the Traditional Owners of the area, including greater involvement of Traditional Owners in land and sea management, the potential for Aboriginal rangers, and protected areas for dugong and turtle. 

"The case studies show that there are flexible ways to combine Indigenous rights and responsibilities with government responsibilities. The report suggests ways in which co-operative management partnerships could develop and will be a starting point for discussions," said Professor Helen Ross, from The University of Queensland whose team compiled the case studies. 

Mr James Innes, Research and Monitoring Manager at The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, who was also involved in the study, said the Authority was keen to develop partnerships with Traditional Owners. "We're very glad to be part of work like this, and to assist Traditional Owners to develop Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements for the sustainable management of their sea country," he said.

The report, "Traditional Owner aspirations towards co-operative management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area: community case studies" edited by Ross et al, CRC Reef Technical Report No. 56 is available from the CRC Reef website at http://www.reef.crc.org.au/publications/techreport/

Video footage of Girringun's Cardwell Indigenous Ranger Unit working on their sea country is available (contact Chloe Lucas on 0408 884521) 

For more information contact: 
Phil Rist, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation 0408 741 075 (available for interview 4 Feb 11.00-11.30am at CRC Reef offices, 6th floor, 280 Flinders St, Townsville.)
Professor Helen Ross, The University of Queensland. Phone 0408 195 324, hross at uqg.uq.edu.au  
Mr James Innes, GBRMPA. Phone 07 47500 748, j.innes at gbrmpa.gov.au 
Ms Chloe Lucas, CRC Reef Media Liaison. Phone 07 4729 8450 or 0408 884 521, chloe.lucas at crcreef.com 


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