Grants empower Indigenous communities to safeguard our environmental spaces

Published Thursday, 08 February, 2024 at 02:00 PM

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Innovation
The Honourable Leanne Linard

  • The Miles Government will invest more than $520,000 to support environmental projects led by Queensland First Nations organisations.
  • Seven projects have received funding in the latest round of the Looking after Country grants program.
  • Successful projects include waterways improvement and cultural fire education programs, which encourage Indigenous Queenslanders to connect to, and care for, Country.

The Miles Government is continuing its support for First Nations people to connect with, and care for, Country thanks to the latest round of Looking after Country grants.

More than $520,000 will be shared across seven projects, which will also support more than 40 jobs for Indigenous Queenslanders in roles including rangers and environmental project officers.

The seven funded projects range from native plant propagation and planting to protect important waterways, the re-population of native freshwater fish species, and education programs for young people about the cultural use of fire for land management.

The projects will be led by Aboriginal corporations and organisations in areas stretching from the waterways of the Trinity Inlet in Cairns (Gimuy Walabara Yidinji country) and to the iconic ‘Big Red’ sand dune in the Simpson Desert (Wangkangurru Yarluyandi country).

Looking after Country projects combine generations of traditional knowledge with modern technologies to protect the State’s valuable cultural and natural heritage.

This is achieved by supporting Elders and traditional custodians working with partners such as university-based research teams, Natural Resource Management groups, local governments and pastoralists. 

Australia’s First Nations People were the world’s original land managers and scientists, and these projects celebrate that expertise and create opportunities for two-way knowledge exchange.

Quotes attributable to Environment Minister, Leanne Linard:

“These grants acknowledge the central and long-standing role that First Nations communities play in caring for Queensland’s environment and cultural heritage.

“They also celebrate the continuing transfer of cultural knowledge from Elders to young people, which is crucial in ensuring the next generation of First Nations people maintain their important cultural identities.

“Looking after Country grants not only help Indigenous Queenslanders to maintain their deep connection to our natural spaces, but support the ongoing care of these culturally and environmentally significant areas.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Treaty and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Leeanne Enoch:

“The transfer of knowledge from elders to the younger generations is an important part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples traditional culture and is an important part of caring for country.

“For young people to learn from elders about how to care for their country is a crucial component for the transfer of knowledge.

This investment will not just assist in the preservation of the world’s oldest living cultures but will also have a positive impact for our precious environment.”   

Quotes attributable to Wangkangurru Yarluyandi Aboriginal Corporation, Working on Country Reference Group Chair, Jean Barr-Crombie:

“Developing a Cultural Heritage Management Plan for Big Red will ensure cultural site management and protection can be achieved through education and awareness of our cultural sites.

“Present and future generations of Traditional Owners will benefit from the sharing of knowledge from Traditional Owners. This builds a stronger connection to Country, and long-term understanding and co-management with the land managers.”

Quotes attributable to Gimuy Walubara Yidinji Elders Aboriginal Corporation CEO GudjuGudju Fourmile:

“The involvement of Elders and the preservation of traditional knowledge are at the heart of this project.

“By fostering inter-generational knowledge transfer, the project revitalizes cultural heritage.

“Through educational workshops, the project will empower community members with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective environmental conservation.”

Fast facts:

Full list of grant recipients:

  • $75,000 for Wangkangurru Yarluyandi Aboriginal Corporation for their project Wangkangurru Yarluyandi cultural heritage—management and protection of 'Big Red' sand dune, which holds cultural importance for the Traditional Custodians and is an important landmark for visitors to the Outback region.
  • $75,000 for Gimuy Walubara Yidinji Elders Aboriginal Corporation for their project, Wet Tropics Native Tree Nursery: Restoring the Great Barrier Reef Catchment. This project will engage the community in learning and knowledge exchange about plants and establish a seed bank of native and culturally significant plant species through seed collection, propagation and planting, and nursery establishment, as well as capacity building, community education and awareness.
  • $75,000 for Badjuballa Aboriginal Corporation and $74,900 to Wabubadda Aboriginal Corporation to collaborate on projects to care for the culturally significant Badjuballa Station in Kirrama Range.
  • $74,675 for Nyanda Life Ltd to document and teach traditional ecological knowledge of plants, on sites near the Brisbane area.
  • $75,000 for South West Indigenous Corporation to re-establish native fish populations in fresh water lakes and rivers near St George.
  • $75,000 for Watsonville Aboriginal Corporation for knowledge sharing workshops, involving Elders and young people, focused on plant identification and the use of cultural fire to protect environmental and cultural values.


Media contact: Scott Chandler – (07) 3719 7339