More than 100 Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation members and staff turned out for the group’s AGM at the Derby Sportsmen’s Club in Ashley Street, Derby, on November 6. The presentations included the audited financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2019. For more information on the annual financial results click here
Francis Woolagoodja return’s to Chairman’s role
Former Chairman of Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation, Francis Woolagoodja, has been elected chairman of the Board of Directors. A director from 2015 to 2017, he stepped down from the Board for two years before standing again at this year’s AGM.
The immediate past chairman Adrian Lane was elected Deputy Chair
Six new directors have been elected to the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation Board.
Marilee Liddell. Keagan Berry, Gary Umbagia, Maitland Ngerdu, Francis Woolagoodja and Kallem Mulgulu joined four sitting members of the 10-member Board – Kirsti Burgu, Adrian Lane, Kenneth Gibson and Aaron Mungulu.
Directors are required to stand for re-election every two years. This year, two long standing directors – Rowena Mouda and Warren Barunga – retired.
The new directors will go through a series of orientation and governance training programs before work resumes in the New Year.
Towards a sustainable business future
CEO Stephen Crook outlined a program to help secure a sound economic future for Dambi members. The group’s principal source of income for the next four years is likely to come from iron ore mining at Koolan Island, where Mount Gibson Iron is operating under an agreement with DAC. To prepare for life after mining, Dambi’s Board and management is aiming to develop an efficient and professional business strategy to support the community beyond 2023.
Key elements include
A review of Dambi finances
A focus on efficient and professional business practices
Assessment of Koolan and Cockatoo Islands for future tourism, mining, oil and gas prospects
Continued development of ranger capacity to become involved in tourism and environmental management programs
A review of businesses to determine which assets should be retained
Work with the Trustee to meet the Trust management conditions
The key objects of the Trust are
The relief of poverty
Advancement of education
Support for old age needs
Relief of illness or distress
Promotion and protection of Aboriginal culture
Spending was slightly under budget for the 2018-2019 financial year
Increasing Dambi’s share of the tourism boom
Former DAC Chairman Adrian Lane and CEO Stephen Crook have been discussing tourism options for the the group’s economic development and country management programs. One of the key objectives will be training and development of resources for the Dambi rangers operating with tour operators in sea country next year.
The discussions follow a rapid increase in tourism activity in the Kimberley region.
As part of the strategy to improve financial controls, DAC has closed the unprofitable Warimba Deli and Windjana Tours.
Merry Christmas payment
The commitment to financial controls won’t interfere with the annual Christmas gift to DAC members. The distribution this year is
Payment of $50 per child aged 1-16 years
Payment of $200 a household in addition to the children’s payment
Planning for the long term at Koolan Island
Iron ore mining operations at Koolan Island resumed in mid-2019 with a focus on employment and training for Aboriginal recruits – particularly Dambimangari members.
Koolan Island Operator Mount Gibson Iron is supporting an important contribution to Dambi’s operating income. At the same time, Traditional Owner representatives and DAC are working on the strategic plan to follow the mining operation’s closure. The plans include a proposal for a cultural centre on the picturesque island in Dambimangari sea country.
In response to questions at the AGM, General Manager of Koolan Island operations, Tim Wride, listed a series of existing and proposed initiatives, including –
Dambi rights to the future of Koolan Island
More friendly staff rosters
Support for attendance at funerals, meetings and other events and
Preparation of a work-ready program to be delivered in February 2020
Healthy Country – the next steps.
The foundation of DAC’s development and management programs – the Healthy Country Plan – is soon to be updated. The management team has reviewed the group’s progress in meeting targets for a wide range of conservation and environmental initiatives drawn up when the plan was first developed in 2011.
Working with scientists, neighbours, rangers and Traditional Owners, DAC will be establishing a series or priorities to preserve the unique values of Dambimangari country. This will include a review of the Dambimangari Visitors’ Pass proposals and joint management of marine parks and land-based conservation areas.
Marine Parks joint management plan
A report to members on the joint management of marine parks in Dambi country outlined an extensive program of monitoring, research, training and environmental management. The Lalang-garram/Camden Sound Marine Park, North Lalang-garram Marine Park and Lalang-garram/Horizontal Falls Marine Park are jointly managed by the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation.
The marine parks along the Kimberley Coast are some of the most important marine sanctuaries in Australia.
Rangers to work on sea country
Dambi Rangers have continued work on key locations in traditional country , preparing sites for ranger bases and the management increasing tourism along Dambi’ picturesque coastline. The seagoing vessels Manambadda and Ranger 1 will be put through trials and crew training runs over summer to develop monitoring and research capabilities and take on a management role in the next holiday season.
Education and training programs will continue to deliver more rangers with environmental management and marine coxswain qualifications.
The rangers will also be continuing work on right time burning and environmental management projects.
Protecting our heritage in Dambi Country and the Yampi Training Area
One of the key elements of Dambi’s role as a custodian of the environment in traditional country has been a set of agreements between the DAC, the Australian Wildlife Conservatory and the Australian Defence Force. The partnerships have delivered a number of key benefits including
The opportunity for Dambi rangers to work with some of Australia’s leading scientists to preserve the flora and fauna of an area of unrivalled heritage value.
Potential fee-for-service work for the DAC
Right time burning contracts
Improved access to traditional country occupied by the Defence Force
Widgingarri Rock Samples
The University of Woollongong has offered to train Dambi staff in the storage and archive management of important artefacts from Widjingarri Rock. The offer followed a presentation on new dating methods which have identified that the site is 54000 years old.
Living on country
The Board has been asked to outline potential financial support for families seeking to live on country. The question has been referred to a future Board meeting for further consideration.
Developers of a proposed redeveloped Cockatoo mining operation presented an overview of the history of Cockatoo Island. Subject to the Department of Mines Industry and Safety transferring ownership of the site, the mining area could be drained and reopened with a life expectancy of up to 30 years.
The legal process is progressing and an Indigenous Land Use Agreement is being prepared for consultation with DAC. Completion of the agreement will depend on finalisation of the transfer by the Department.