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3 June, 2021

Daintree groups win Premier’s Reconciliation award

The Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and conservation charity Rainforest 4 Foundation have won the Premier’s Reconciliation Award for their work in the Daintree.

By Tanya Murphy

Daintree traditional owners Lyn and Michelle Johnson from the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation with the awards presented by Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford.

The two organisations have worked together to raise money to purchase land in the Daintree to be owned and managed by its traditional owners.

They were also the joint winners in the Partnership category of the Queensland Reconciliation Awards presented on Tuesday night in Townsville.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk thanked the winners for demonstrating ‘reconciliation in action’ and fostering “a more culturally aware, connected and respectful state.”

According to their nomination, the two organisations share values of “protecting the Daintree’s globally significant conservation and cultural values while reconnecting people with Country.”

The two organisations have formed a unique partnership which sees collaborative efforts to identify Daintree properties, originally sub-divided in the 1980s, with high cultural and conservation values.

Rainforest 4 Foundation activates its supporter base to raise funds to purchase the properties.

Once the blocks are purchased, the title is transferred to Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation which determines the best course of action in terms of reconnecting people with Country and allowing the land to heal.

As an Aboriginal land-holding entity with 75 per cent Indigenous staff, Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation manages the process of returning land back to Eastern Kuku Yalanji people and protecting it in perpetuity as part of the Daintree National Park.

The partnership is the only formalised non-government program in Australia that purchases land for conservation to be owned and managed by its Traditional Owners.

Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation provides cultural expertise, ranger experience and staff to steer the project, and Rainforest 4 Foundation provides expertise in fundraising and advocacy for rainforests.

“This partnership is what reconciliation is all about. Together we move forward,” said Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation Chair Lyn Johnson.

Lyn’s granddaughter Michelle Friday-Mooka echoed her words.

“Reconciliation isn’t just today, yesterday, this week - it’s every day,” she said.

“We are extremely humbled and honoured to be a part of this great partnership.”

Other winners of Reconciliation Awards were:

Business Category: Joint winners - North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation and Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union.

Community Category: COOEE Indigenous Family and Community Education Centre.

Education Category: Gracemere State School

Health and Wellbeing Category: Ronald McDonald House Charities North Australia.


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