25 August 2021
For over 60,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have acted as caretakers of the land.
With generations after generations of knowledge to draw from, the Indigenous communities in Australia bring traditional wisdom and expertise to the land.
Founded in 1982, Greening Australia partners with Indigenous communities across Australia to bring together traditional and contemporary knowledge, exchange skills, increase employment opportunities and support people to work on country.
The goals of Greening Australia are lofty, with the aim by 2030 to have 330,000 hectares of habitat restored, 3.3 million tonnes of carbon sequestered per annum, and 3,000 Indigenous trainees. These are just some of broader goals for the organisation.
‘What inspires me to come to work every day? The projects we’re working on,’ reflects Richard Sporne, who is the Indigenous Engagement Coordinator for Greening Australia’s Reef Aid program. ‘Working with traditional owners to look after the country in a sustainable way.’
One of the most important geological landscapes sits adjacent to Queensland - the Great Barrier Reef. Sitting so close to shore means that what we do on the land has an impact on the Reef. And that’s why it’s so important to manage the land in a sustainable way.
The Reef Aid program consists of multiple projects aimed at improving the health of the Great Barrier Reef; from wetland restoration, to protecting species, to rebuilding eroded gullies amongst others. The program brings together landholders, communities and Traditional Owners for a common cause.
In conjunction with the Reef Aid program is the ‘Working together to heal Sea Country’ program, one of the many programs under the ‘Thriving on Country’ banner. To Indigenous people, ‘Sea Country’ isn’t just a geographic area, ‘it includes all living things, beliefs, values, creation stories, spirits, and cultural obligations associated with it.’
The Great Barrier Reef has been under threat for years, so BHP/BMA and Greening Australia are partnering with Traditional Owners & Indigenous communities in the regions to ensure that traditional wisdom and expertise combined with modern methods are used in safeguarding and improving the health of the reef.
At approximately 2300km long, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest of the 7 natural wonders of the world. We must not only improve the current health of the Reef, but strengthen its resilience for the future. Everybody has a role to play, because when nature thrives, people thrive.
It’s up to us to ensure that it holds its sacred place for current and future generations.