INDIGENOUS heritage in the Great Barrier Reef will be strengthened thanks to $70,000 in funding to develop a cultural heritage strategy and database.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, said the announcement was part of the Australian Government investment of $1.6 million this financial year in 18 projects across Australia through the Indigenous Heritage Programme to strengthen the connection between Indigenous communities and their heritage values.
Minister Scullion said the projects focus on supporting, identifying, promoting and conserving the heritage values of places important to Indigenous people.
“Projects cover activities including the conservation of burial sites, conducting heritage surveys and repair work, developing cultural heritage management plans and recording and passing on traditional knowledge,” Minister Scullion said.
“Indigenous heritage projects provide education, training, employment and business opportunities that help Indigenous Australians to meet their cultural obligations to care for their country and maintain traditions.”
Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority would receive $70,000 through the 2013-14 round of Indigenous Heritage funding.
“The project will develop a Gunggandji cultural heritage strategy that identifies and shares the cultural heritage aspects, values and places on Gunggandji country,” Mr Entsch said.
“Activities include the recording and active teaching of knowledge, practices and customary responsibilities, which will benefit current and future generations..
“The project will employ Gunggandji People to coordinate and record stories, knowledge and information through on-country workshops with local elders.
“The information will be used in management strategies, local media, at on-country workshops or meetings and for kids taking part in school activities such as junior ranger programs and camps.
“It will also help to further develop a sustainable heritage tourism strategy for Green and Fitzroy Islands, something I’m particularly interested in.”
The other key aspect for the project is a community Cultural Heritage Management System (Data Base) that will allow Gunggandji to record, store and manage knowledge and information about Gunggandji Country, Culture and People. This is viewed as a high priority by the Gunggandji People.
The Government’s investment through the Indigenous heritage projects supports Indigenous people to care for their land and heritage and this in turn helps to strengthen and preserve the history, culture and self-esteem of communities.