Moving on Economic Development

December 06, 2014 at 7:53 PM


Continuing on from discussions at this years NQLC Summit held in October, members of 23 PBC’s from throughout the NLQC region travelled to Cairns to attend a three day PBC workshop and participate in the NQLC Economic Development Forum.

The small group of around 55 people attended the week long workshop and forum with the first three days concentrating on building the capacity and sustainability of PBC through workshop sessions held by NQL staff with the assistance from AIATSIS.

The workshop and economic development forum was the culmination of 16 months by the NQLC to work towards improving support mechanisms for PBC’s throughout the region and assist them with moving on post determination, connecting them to regional economic development opportunities that may exist.

Brad Foster, Acting CEO said that the week was about how best the NQLC could work with PBC’s to develop the capacity and optimise the economic development opportunities for the future but emphasised that needed that initial growth support.

“Firstly, we need to make sure that the PBC’s are working correctly and that ensure that the NQLC is providing the best support for them to functioning accordingly.

One important parts of this has been the development of a toolkit for the PBC’s which included modules on roles and responsibilities, governance, ILUA implementation and other items that can assist PBC’s moving forward post Native Title.

Over the past few days we have gained valuable user feedback to ensure that what we have created with the support from AIATSIS was friendly and does what it needs to do for PBC’s.

To continue the rollout of the NQLC PBC support modules we are looking at engaging a education industry partner to provide certified training course in 2015 as certificate III in business with two or three streams done over six month blocks.

What we are doing here is a first in the Country and it’s very exciting to know that all of our 23 PBC’s are in support of the idea and are keen to grow future opportunities, these seedlings need nurturing so that they can grow strong, thats the key element to what we are doing.” Brad Foster, Acting CEO.

Many of the participants praised the existing support provided by the NQLC, PBC Support Unit but want to look at a model that purely concentrates of developing connections to business opportunities with a holistic approach.

“It’s very important that we get involved with these things and that we have a PBC resource centre to find out whats going and how we can improve out mob and our country”. Alma Lingard, Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation

Participants at the workshops and forum discussed issues surrounding the growth of economic opportunities and raise the important issue of resourcing and the possibilities of this coming through the NQLC as a NTRB.

On the last day, Terry O’Shane reiterated the need for mob to realise what potential exists post-Native Title and that sometimes waiting for others to do it for us or asking permission is  basic colonialism that has slowly strangled our people and opportunities.

“I’m really happy that the NQLC has made move towards these discussions around economic development, starting with these forums about the ways forward for PBC’s.

When your talking about employment and economic development, the injection of our rights will be through ILUA’s, it’s at that point groups need to start look at tier one developers and forming joint-ventures so that we can optimise the opportunities for mob and still maintain the control and protection our lands at the same time.

We need to start look at commercialisation of our ILUA’s and use native title as an collective asset and let people know that we are here and ready for investment.”

The PBC workshop and Economic Development Forum gave everyone the opportunity improve their skills with managing the PBC and provided them with think tank on the ways forward towards improving economic opportunities on their country and providing jobs for our young people.

People look forward to what 2015 will bring with similiar discussions around economic development and wealth creation, post native title.