NintiNews - May 2012
|Hetti Perkins, Deputy Chair Ninti One Limited|
image © Hibiscus Films
It is with great pleasure that we welcome eminent Aboriginal art curator and historian Hetti Perkins as Deputy Chair of Ninti One Limited.
Hetti has led a distinguished career in Aboriginal visual art for over twenty years, starting with the Sydney gallery of Aboriginal Arts Australia and then joining the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in the 1990s.
She co-curated the Australian Indigenous Art Commission for the Musée du quai Branly in Paris (2006), and the Australian exhibition at the 47th Venice Biennale and was advisor to the 2008 Biennale of Sydney. In 2010 her 3-part TV series ‘art+soul’ was screened nationally on ABC.
Hetti is Chair of the Charlie Perkins Trust for Children and Students, which she founded, a Trustee of the Michael Riley Foundation and member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She is a member of the Public Art Advisory Panel of the City of Sydney and the Papunya Tula Reference Group of the National Cultural Heritage Committee and is artist-in-residence at Bangarra Dance Theatre Australia.
Ninti One Chairman Tom Calma says, “Hetti is a prominent Aboriginal leader who is a member of Eastern Arrernte and Kalkadoon nations. She has a strong national profile specialising in Indigenous arts and history. Her support for remote Australia is acknowledged with this appointment and I greatly look forward to working with her.”
How can we inspire remote Australians with the potential of science and technology – and how do we inspire all Australians with the scientific potential of Remote Australia?
Those are issues at the heart of four new reports to the Federal Government prepared by expert working groups, suggesting ways to invest new communication funding under its Inspiring Australia program. The four groups covered:
- Engaging desert communities
- Engaging tropical communities
- Engaging Indigenous Australians in urban, regional and remote locations
- Building connections and collaboration across science and science communication organisations which focus on the marine sciences.
Ninti One co-ordinated the desert communities group, which has produced a detailed report based on the views of more than 100 organisations and individuals, and which argues that “the deserts have the power to inspire all Australians – and the science that explains, reveals and develops opportunities within them is essential to creating that inspiration.”
It argues the need for a nationally coordinated science communication alliance across the deserts, better ways to assess communication projects, more support for ground-breaking activities, a focus on key issues of special relevance to remote Australia, and a focus on Aboriginal traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge systems working together, among other things.
I encourage everyone who is interested in sharing knowledge across Remote Australia to have a look at the report, which should soon be online for comment at:
|Russell Raggatt, Senior Finance Officer|
Ninti One’s Senior Finance Officer Russell hails from Bendigo and began his career as a baker-pastry chef working at Mansfield, Melbourne and Sydney, before moving into equipment sales and bakery design. From there it seemed a natural progression to bakery/coffee shop proprietor, with two stores in Sydney.
“After we sold our first shop my bride and I decided to have a holiday in Central Australia, and we moved to Alice Springs after we had sold our other business,” he says. “We’ve now been here 15 years. In 2000, with the advent of GST I decided to retrain to get off being on my feet all day. Initially my ambitions were modest: a little training in bookkeeping. Ten years later, always working very full-time but with a couple of breaks for study in the middle, I graduated with a master of commerce degree from UNE. Until recently I have been working as an accountant for eight years at Tangentyere Council.”
In his fiscal role, Russell admits to getting a buzz out of “clarifying the complex for colleagues”.
His favourite movie is Patton – for George C. Scott’s acting – followed closely by The Blues Brothers “for its complete madness”. His current read is an old sci-fi classic The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.
Russell defines a great weekend as “pottering around our rural block with my grandsons, golf, a gig playing cello with Rusty and the Infidels (I'm one of the infidels), Sunday morning markets and Sunday afternoon with friends.”
His worst habit, according to his wife, is “getting stuck on Hitler docos while channel surfing”. And, harking back to his days as a coffee-shop owner, his pet hate is “badly made, anaemic, coffee”, and his pet like is “my morning coffee, made by myself using a plunger; some mornings it is almost an ecstatic religious experience.”
Russell’s main goals in life are, “Establishing myself in my new role – and enjoying watching my grandsons grow.” His most admired figures are Martin McHugh and Nirmala Srivastava.
Ninti One’s Business Development Unit held its annual staff retreat at Crab Claw Island near Darwin recently. The retreat was attended by Mark Ashley, Quentin Hart, Ange Vincent, Andy Bubb, Judy Lovell and Apolline Kohen and was facilitated by Paul Josif.
The first task was to evaluate the unit’s work to date, identify its competitive advantages and build on these to identify new business opportunities. This was followed by prioritisation of the unit’s activities for the coming year and action planning aimed at achieving the strategic direction that had been determined. The group also updated the business plan, used a Balanced Scorecard to identify and update the roles of its members and engaged in some pleasant team-building activities.
Collaboration is a hot issue for any researcher, innovator or indeed any business in today’s environment. Anyone who wants to make a real difference should be skilled at it. That’s the theme for this year’s CRCA Conference, ‘Collaborate | Innovate | 2012’, which takes place in Adelaide from 15–17 May 2012.
CRC-REP is a major sponsor of this conference and I will be chairing the afternoon session of the first day: Collaborating Across Sectors – Research Networks: A New Model for Defence Engagement with Universities and Industry
Collaborate | Innovate | 2012 will put collaboration under the microscope. What works? What doesn’t? You’ll hear from experts in collaboration and find out about how better collaboration can help your ideas have a greater impact.
More information: http://www.crca.asn.au/conference/
|Photo by Maryanne Gray|
Our Remote Education Systems project has made a great start, following ethics approval to commence work with the Ngaanyatjarra Lands School in WA. This is a multi-campus school located in the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and includes the communities of Warburton, Warakurna (where the school is administered from), Wingellina, Blackstone, Jameson, Tjirrkali, Kiwirrkurra, Tjukurla and Wanarn. Project leader John Guenther will shortly launch the five-year journey of investigation into what it is that creates a good remote education system for the Ngaanyatjarra Lands.
The project will feature at the International Rural Forum in September through a half-day workshop on “Remote education systems that work”, run by Murray McGregor and John Guenther. Indigenous speakers from a range of countries will discuss their issues around education provision in remote communities. This will be followed by a forum and workshop to establish the international discourse.
Three key questions for our project are:
1) What defines successful educational outcomes from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander standpoint?
2) How does teaching need to change in order to achieve this success?
3) What would an effective remote education system look like, and what should it achieve?
The Remote Education System project team consists of Associate Professor John Guenther (email@example.com), Dr Melodie Bat (firstname.lastname@example.org), Sam Osborne (email@example.com) and Dr Chris Duncan (firstname.lastname@example.org). I invite anyone who is interested in remote education to contact the team and take part in this vital conversation.
|PhD Student Kylie Lingard|
Our Plant Business project has scored quite a coup in commissioning young researcher Kylie Lingard to investigate a range of novel national and international legal approaches for protecting Aboriginal intellectual property and traditional knowledge. Project leader Slade Lee says, “Kylie received exceptionally high commendations for her honours thesis – one reviewer said it was the best they’d ever read – so she comes to CRC-REP with high credentials.” The aim of her PhD research will be to investigate legal methods beyond normal IP law, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, that could be applied to safeguard traditional knowledge. Kylie has already started her research, at the University of New England, from her home base in Maitland.
We also welcome Deirdre Finter who has joined CRC-REP for a key role in helping to develop and implement the survey methodology for our Population Mobility and Labour Market Projects. Project leader Mike Dockery says she will assist in the running and review of three pilot studies which we hope to complete this year. From late 2012 onward, she will assist in rolling out the mobility survey in up to 30 communities. Working closely with RemoteBiz, this will include recruitment of the survey sites, community engagement and development of the fine-tuning of survey instruments for each individual community, overseeing the field work and data compilation and consulting on how best to return benefits. Deirdre has extensive experience working with Aboriginal communities, including as the CEO for a number of remote communities and as a field officer with the Australian Electoral Commission where she implemented a range of measures to increase voting among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote Australia.
The Central Land Council is a formal project partner of the Australian Feral Camel Management Project and is facilitating commercial and non-commercial removal of feral camels across a large area of the Northern Territory. They recently outlined their perspectives on managing a range of feral animals on their website (http://www.clc.org.au/articles/cat/feral-animals/).
The CLC acknowledges that culling feral camels can be a difficult decision for Aboriginal people to allow on their lands. However, with the damage to the environment and cultural sites, and the physical threat of feral camels on roads, airstrips and even coming into communities, most Aboriginal communities have accepted the need for aerial shooting of feral camels where commercial use is not viable or is unlikely to achieve a timely reduction in feral camel densities.
With support from the Australian Feral Camel Management Project, the Central Land Council has been building the capacity of Aboriginal people to support commercial use and culling activities. The Central Land Council hopes that feral camel harvest and aerial shooting activities will increase in 2012 as the landscape dries out.
|Jayne Brim-Box and Jeff Foulkes testing the vegetation assessment|
methodology Feb 2011
Monitoring and evaluation is an important part of the Australian Feral Camel Management Project, to understand the impact of feral camels and track the improvement as their densities are reduced. The impact of feral camels is broad, from damaging houses and fences to destroying vegetation and other habitat across their 3.3 million km2 range.
Many of the monitoring methodologies used in the Australian Feral Camel Management Project have been developed specifically for the project and draw on a wide range of information relating to the impact of other large grazing animals including deer, elk and elephants. In developing the vegetation monitoring methodology, Dr Jayne Brim-Box, a Northern Territory Government researcher based in Alice Springs, analysed over 100 scientific journal papers and consulted widely with Australian and international experts in the fields of large browsing animals and ecology.
As part of the vegetation assessment, 12 tree species known to be impacted by camels are measured to understand what they look like under normal conditions, that is, unaffected by feral camel browsing. The species include plumbush, umbrella bush and whitewoods and were selected based on an extensive study by two German ecologists Dörges and Heucke, who spent many years observing camels and what they ate in central Australia.
|Feral camel damage to vegetation in Central Australia|
The process of vegetation assessments involves visiting typically remote sites and taking a series of measurements of multiple trees of the same species. Measurements include total height, browse line, trunk diameter and seedling recruitment. In collecting these data scientists are able to assess if the feral camel damage has stunted the plant’s growth or broken the stem, browsed the species so high that other native species are unable to reach it or stressed the plants to the point that no seedlings are recruited.
The robustness of the vegetation measurement methodologies is continually being tested with every additional site visit and to date is standing up well. The development and testing of the methodology for assessing the impact of feral camels on the Australian landscape is a significant outcome for the AFCMP and will be an invaluable tool for the ongoing management of feral camels. It should also contribute to developing approaches to monitoring large herbivore impacts internationally.
Some recent widespread media coverage has focused on a number of issues to do with feral camels, with the most positive stories looking at feral camel mustering initiatives on APY lands in north-west South Australia.
Since December 2011 close to 200 camels have been removed from the APY lands where they were degrading the environment and causing damage to infrastructure and water supplies.
With support from the Australian Feral Camel Management Project, Biosecurity SA has been involved in providing training for the particular skills needed by Anangu stockmen and musterers to handle feral camels safely and humanely.
There was also some media coverage about the commencement of mustering operations on Central Land Council (CLC) lands in the Northern Territory. The Australian Feral Camel Management Project has provided support to CLC for establishing landholder consents for the mustering work, training Aboriginal people to be involved in the mustering and purchasing portable yards.
Despite some reports to the contrary, the Australian Feral Camel Management Project has worked with commercial operators for the past three years and will continue to do so where it is the landholder’s preferred form of feral camel removal and where it can reduce feral camel damage in a rapid and cost-effective way.
Peter is Director of Land Programs at the Martu company Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ), based in WA’s Pilbara region. He has the job satisfaction of working with the Martu, the traditional owners of the Western Desert, and says one of the most rewarding aspects is meeting with many Martu elders who have first-hand knowledge of living a traditional lifestyle, having only had first contact with European Australians since the 1960s.
|Peter See, Director of Lands Programs at the Martu|
company Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa
Camels are one of the big environmental challenges being managed by the Martu people and KJ. Peter says, “Camels have had a big impact on Martu and their country, particularly on the water holes and the bush foods that Martu like to eat. Despite this damage, Martu were originally opposed to the idea of culling, which they regarded as a waste.
“In 2009, with funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program, KJ and other project partners undertook a series of consultations and discussions with Martu about the impact of feral camels and what could be done.
“We explored all the options for reducing camel numbers. We talked with government and we talked with the neighbouring pastoral stations, which are also affected. Eventually Martu made a strong decision that while they did not want to cull for cultural reasons, it was the only realistic option.
“So a strategy was developed which provided for Martu and their ranger teams to look after camels around roads and the communities and ideally make money out their removal. In wirrili or faraway country, however, where access is near impossible, Martu decided to work with government to use aerial culling, so that when they go back to country – and this is country some of them haven’t been back to for 20, 30 years – it’s not trashed by camels but is actually healthy.
“Since then Martu, through KJ and the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation, have been working with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA and the Department of Environment and Conservation to manage feral camel densities, monitor their impact on water sources and to undertake research into camel movements using collars able to be tracked by satellites,” Peter says.
Peter has a wide-ranging background, including private enterprise, government and the not-for-profit sector with a particular focus on activities that are of social value. Travel is in his blood and he is currently planning his next trip, trekking in Nepal.
Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa is a Martu company, dedicated to the preservation of Martu culture and the creation of a viable economy for Martu based on their native title rights and culture. A significant part of this Martu cultural economy is based on activities that care for country, with the support of government, the private sector and other partners.
Best wishes to all our friends, colleagues and partners
Fisher S. 2012. Monitoring and evaluation methodologies for remote service delivery. Ninti One Working Paper NW001. Ninti One Limited. Alice Springs. (pdf 2.5MB)
Brennan K, Twigg P, Watson A, Pennington A, Sumner J, Davis R, Jackson J, Brooks B, Grant F and Underwood R. 2012. Cross-cultural systematic biological surveys in Australia’s Western Desert. Ecological Management & Restoration. 13, 1. pp. 72–80.
Preuss K and Dixon M. 2012. ‘Looking after country two-ways’: Insights into Indigenous community-based conservation from the Southern Tanami. Ecological Management & Restoration. 13, 1. pp. 2–15.
Vaarzon-Morel P and Edwards G. 2012. Incorporating Aboriginal people's perceptions of introduced animals in resource management: insights from the feral camel project. Ecological Management & Restoration. 13, 1. pp. 65–71.
The following briefing papers have been re-published:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledge, Western Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights.
- Aboriginal Research Engagement Protocol Template.
- Access and Benefit Sharing With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
- Copyright in Australian Law.
- Intellectual Property (IP) in Australian Law.
- Patents and Plant Breeders’ Rights in Australian law.
- Schedule of rates of pay for Aboriginal workers in research – 2012.
- Trademarks and Designs in Australian Law.
- What are Ethics?
- What is Confidentiality?
- What is Free Prior Informed Consent?
May 7–12, 2012
May 15–17, 2012
May 27 – June 3, 2012
July 2–5, 2012
September 23–27, 2012
September 24–28, 2012