Project number: 2016-201
Project Status:
Completed
Budget expenditure: $87,360.34
Principal Investigator: Lorrae McArthur
Organisation: Northern Land Council (NLC)
Project start/end date: 31 Aug 2016 - 27 Feb 2018
Contact:
FRDC

Need

Aboriginal communities have property rights for 85% of the Northern Territory’s coastline, with respect to the Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act 1976. This significant asset that is unique to the rest of Australia provides an important opportunity for communities to create niche markets and build their capacity around providing services to and engaging directly in the fishing and seafood sectors. However, these mostly remote Aboriginal communities have limited capacity to access to services and expertise that is needed to assist them in their planning and development of commercial interests.

The Aboriginal led Wurrahiliba Management Committee for the region from Roper River to Robinson River in the Gulf of Carpentaria has identified a clear need for instruments that will assist the local community in developing sustainable and low risk business investments that enhance local fishing activity and community participation through jobs and enterprises. Any achievements toward this will assist Aboriginal communities in realising the benefits from their unique property right.

While the focus of the project is in the Gulf region, the approach taken in addressing local needs would easily transfer to other regions, both in the Northern Territory and nationally. The tools applied to build the capacity of Aboriginal people in determining business opportunities provides a useful model that could be reshaped, based on local aspirations, and applied in other regions where communities are similarly struggling to consolidate ideas and identify the steps and support services necessary to start up small business in supporting local economies generated by fishing and seafood sectors.

Objectives

1. The overarching objective is to build the capacity of the Wurrahiliba Management Committee ina. identifying well founded opportunities to grow local fishing sector economies b. realising impediments and c. developing a strategy of steps to bring opportunities to fruition.
2. Ensure community based planning approaches inform the project and meet specific needs of the community, particularly Aboriginal social and cultural aspirations in fishing and seafood sectors which are often missed in mainstream planning stages.
3. Support best practice through informed consent from Traditional Owners in all stages of enterprise development on their land and tidal waters.
4. 3. Develop Traditional Owners networks with fishing industries, local Aboriginal Ranger programs, local business, relevant agencies and other stakeholder interests.
5. 4. Facilitate robust communication and relationship building among Traditional Owners and stakeholders through forums and consultations.
6. 5. Raise community awareness through networks and communication materials.
7. 6. Support a consultative process that facilitates the mapping of existing local fishing activity and services and identifies needs as well as new opportunities and gaps.
8. 7. Refine interests into potential business scenarios that can be used in a second phase of this project which is to develop and test the feasibility of business cases.
9. 8. Develop a report for the community that will provide a legacy product to assist the Wurrahiliba Management Committee in setting priorities and developing its interests over the next 10-15 years.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-646-81602-9
Authors: Sinclair M. Dulfer-Hyams M. & Nona H.
Final Report • 2020-02-01 • 8.17 MB
2016 -201-DLD.pdf

Summary

This report provides an account of the Yanyuwa Traditional Owner-led project, Business opportunities and impediments for Aboriginal community development in supportive fishing industries in the Roper River to Robinson River Area of the Northern Territory which was grounded in a Participatory Action Research Approach (PAR). It was funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) and aimed to: 
Build capacity of the Wurrahiliba Management Committee (WMC)1 in identifying well founded opportunities to grow local fishing sector economies, realising impediments, and developing a strategy of steps to bring opportunities to fruition. 
 
Further research objectives were stated as: 
  1. The overarching objective is to build the capacity of the WMC in:
    • Identifying well founded opportunities to grow local fishing sector economies 
    • Realising impediments and 
    • Developing a strategy of steps to bring opportunities to fruition. 
  2. Ensure community-based planning approaches inform the project and meet specific needs of the community, particularly Aboriginal social and cultural aspirations in fishing and seafood sectors which are often missed in mainstream planning stages. 
  3. Support best practice through informed consent from Traditional Owners in all stages of enterprise development on their land and tidal waters.
  4. Develop Traditional Owners networks with fishing industries, local Aboriginal Ranger programs, local business, relevant agencies and other stakeholder interests. 
  5. Facilitate robust communication and relationship building among Traditional Owners and stakeholders through forums and consultations.
  6. Raise community awareness through networks and communication materials. 
  7. Support a consultative process that facilitates the mapping of existing local fishing activity and services and identifies needs as well as new opportunities and gaps. 
  8. Refine interests into potential business scenarios that can be used in a second phase of this project which is to develop and test the feasibility of business cases. 
  9. Develop a report for the community that will provide a legacy product to assist the WMC in setting priorities and developing its interests over the next 10-15 years. 
The WMC is a resource co-management committee led by Yanyuwa Traditional Owners. Its establishment is provisioned under the intertidal agreement between the Northern Land Council on behalf of Traditional Owners and the Northern Territory Government. The agreement provides permit- free access for commercial and recreational fishers and fishing tour operators to enter intertidal waters over Aboriginal-owned land across the Sir Edward Pellew Islands and McArthur River area. 
To implement this project using community-based planning approaches and support relationship building, lead facilitators enabled WMC members and other interested stakeholders to form a PAR community of co-researchers to collectively inquire into the supportive fishing industries opportunities in the area, identify impediments and develop strategic actions to bring opportunities to fruition. 
Lead facilitators enabled the collective inquiry through implementing a range of community-based workshops, meetings and structured interviews, and facilitated information sharing between the co- researchers. The lead facilitators also distributed information to inform the PAR community’s collective inquiry, and meeting and workshops reports to co-researchers to support their reflection of workshops. 
This report has been authored by the lead facilitators and presents the project findings for the consideration of the PAR community. It aims to assist in their determination of future strategic actions to pursue their aspirations in growing the fishing sector in Borroloola and addressing the impediments of Aboriginal economic development.
This report considers the aspirations and impediments to Aboriginal community development according to the Yanyuwa Traditional Owners that participated in the project and other industry representatives, government agencies and the Northern Land Council. It does not necessarily represent the views of all Yanyuwa Traditional Owners.
It is recommended that the PAR community consider the findings of this project, and subsequently identify their next strategic actions.

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