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Northern Tablelands ARAG celebrates a decade of success

The Northern Tablelands Aboriginal Reference Advisory Group, better known as the ARAG, is celebrating a decade of success working in natural resource management and building the skills of local Aboriginal communities.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services hosted a special anniversary event in Glen Innes on 17 May celebrating the ARAG’s 10 years in operation from 2007 to 2017.

The ARAG was established in 2007 under the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority (CMA) to engage with Aboriginal communities and provide feedback and advice on Aboriginal cultural heritage.

When the CMA transitioned into Northern Tablelands Local Land Services in 2014, the ARAG was retained to facilitate effective communication and consultation with Aboriginal communities and to foster respect for Aboriginal culture.

Current membership of the organisation comprises representatives from Local Aboriginal Land Councils across the Northern Tablelands region including Amaroo (Walcha), Thungutti (Bellbrook), Armidale, Guyra, Anaiwan (Inverell/Tingha), Ashford, Guyra, Glen Innes, Moombahlene (Tenterfield), Jubullum (Drake/ Tabulam) and Toomelah.

Importantly, the ARAG actively promotes partnerships and ensures traditional knowledge is preserved and incorporated in practical land management.

“The ARAG continues to grow in achievements and in the scope of activities the organisation is involved in,” said Mark Davies, ARAG representative and Chief Executive Officer with the Amaroo Local Aboriginal Land Council.

“It’s helped Aboriginal people to develop their land and to build skills not just in working on natural resource management on site, but also through opportunities such as writing and business development workshops.”

The ARAG has collaborated in the delivery of a range of training opportunities in skills such as native seed collection, property planning, Aboriginal heritage site assessment and traditional crafts, many of which have led to ongoing economic opportunities.

“After 10 years of up-skilling Aboriginal people, the ARAG deserves to be congratulated,” said Mark.

Harry White from Northern Tablelands Local Land Services has served in the role of ARAG Executive Officer since 2009.  He has seen the ARAG grow from a loosely based group uncertain about its future direction to a cohesive group that is today a strong and established network.

“It’s been a privilege and an honour to work with Land Councils and Aboriginal communities in Northern NSW," Harry said.

"The Northern Tablelands ARAG is a model that has been replicated in many other Local Land Services regions across NSW,” said Harry.

For more information about the work of the Northern Tablelands Aboriginal Reference Advisory Group over the last decade contact Harry White on 02 6720 8303 or 0437 678 720.

Media contact:  Annabelle Monie 0429 626 326