Agreement starts new understanding
GOORENG Gooreng elders Mervyn and Colin Johnson are glad to see six months of negotiating finally pay off.
They will watch as an agreement between their people, the Gurang people and the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) is signed tomorrow.
“It means a lot to us. It means DERM will discuss environmental issues with us and the Gooreng Gooreng people before they make any decisions,” Colin said.
The Memorandum of Understanding will be signed at the Gidarjil Cultural Festival and will apply to the Port Curtis Coral Coast Native Title area.
The area runs from the Elliott River, north to Gladstone, and as far west as Monto.
The brothers were hopeful the agreement would help educate young Australians and preserve traditional culture.
“We are asking to respect our culture, respect our heritage and make sure our significant sites of dreaming aren’t destroyed, that they’re respected and preserved,” Colin said.
As part of the agreement Mervyn said they hoped to develop heritage trails as well as eradicate weeds and pests and re-establish native growth.
“We hope to develop and bring our young people and tell them about their culture and what happened thousands and thousands of years ago,” he said.
DERM Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Capricornia regional manager Leigh Harris said the agreement would strengthen the department’s relationship with the groups which had been growing for the past two years.
“For example, it states that QPWS will train traditional owner groups in conducting prescribed burns and will work with them to ensure that cultural heritage continues to be protected,” Ms Harris said.
The Johnson brothers will attend the cultural festival in Lions Park tomorrow from 10am to 4pm where the agreement will be signed.
The festival includes performances and indigenous art workshops.