2018/2019 was a year of significant progress and developments for BNTAC – with continual work being undertaken in the post-determination space to develop internal capacity and capability; and to also begin to expand and diversify our work program in line with our PBC functions and based on the united Vision and priorities of the Bigambul nation and community.
The last twelve months’ strategic and operational work programs have been guided and directed by BNTAC’s five Key Result Areas (KRAs):
- Maintain rigorous corporate governance practices that are culturally inclusive, accountable and transparent.
- Invest in the preservation and advancement of historical and traditional lands, cultural knowledge and practices and promote Bigambul connection to country;
- Leverage commercial opportunities to build the economic strength of the Bigambul people;
- Build the skills and capacity of Bigambul people through expanded training opportunities;
- Bolster and maintain BNTAC capabilities in moving toward self-sufficiency.
In addition to undertaking a Constitutional Review and implementing a number of new provisions and monitoring and management procedures, BNTAC has undertaken targeted efforts to maintain rigorous corporate governance practices.
In addition to securing BNTAC’s Charitable Status and PBI status and becoming GST registered; we have also developed a dedicated BNTAC Communication Strategy, including targeted measures to achieve a locally inclusive and united approach / vision for our nation; established BNTAC Implementation Committees and respective Terms of Reference (ToRs) across these groups to drive BNTAC’s current work priorities and projects; and developed a BNTAC Cultural Capability and Cultural Authority Framework.
Progress has also been made for the period toward building efforts and investment toward the preservation and advancement of historical and traditional lands, as well as cultural knowledge and practices and promoting Bigambul connection to country. BNTAC have now developed a Cultural Immersion Program for implementation, which will be a requirement for all government and industry employees to complete, prior to commencement of any major project work conducted on our lands. We have also progressed with developing a united Plan for our nation; and development of a current Cultural Heritage Register, comprising records of physical locations and significant sacred and other important sites, song lines and stories within the Bigambul Nation.
A priority has also been progressing with development of a Cultural Heritage, Land and Environment Rehabilitation and Preservation Policy and Management Plan. This will be fundamental toward informing in-built provisions to ensure the preservation and rehabilitation of country, environment and culture as part of any major works undertaken on our lands. Further to this, a critical planned initiative that will continue to be a priority in 2019/2020, is the development of a comprehensive Caring for Country & Cultural Heritage Plan and Scorecard framework. The aim is to provide a comprehensive roadmap for cultural heritage and land and water preservation and rehabilitation. This will be a guiding framework for BNTAC’s own caring for country and cultural heritage work program; as well as informing standards and requirements of proponents working on our lands and waterways.
This will also connect to another planned project for 2019/2020 that BNTAC have been working toward, which pertains to the development of a 10year Economic Development and Prosperity Strategy for the Bigambul nation. The Strategy will actively support our target of leveraging commercial opportunities to build the economic strength of the Bigambul people, as well providing a community-led and locally collaborative road-map; to ensure a healthy; thriving; and sustainable Bigambul nation and community – now and into the future.
These activity measures necessarily cross-over into and also actively support our KRA pertaining to building the skills and capacity of Bigambul people through expanded training opportunities; with mapped economic development priorities and targets to necessarily encompass expanded training and skill development opportunities for Bigambul people. To these ends as well, during 2018/2019, BNTAC has continued ongoing discussions with proponents regarding local economic development and skill and training opportunities for Bigambul people; as well as developing our own revised Workforce Development Plan.
Focused efforts have also been attributed to new program / project innovation and development, to support bolstering and maintenance of BNTAC capabilities, and aid us in moving toward self-sufficiency. 2018/2019 saw an expansion for BNTAC in terms of our existing proponent and funder relationships; and the projects that we have in place through these current formal arrangements.
Key proponents within our Determination Area and with which BNTAC have formal affiliation, include:
- Shell Group QGC
- ARTC Inland Rail
- Origin Energy
QGC Shell have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with BNTAC and through negotiated arrangements, also financially contributed during 2018/2019 to the Implementation Manager role position within the organisation – assisting to drive key reform and strengthening measures pertaining to corporate and operational functions. Furthermore, during 2018/2019, BNTAC received advice from QGC of our successful applications for the following upcoming projects:
- The BNTAC 2019 Youth Summit that was held September 27 to October 1 in Goondiwindi
- The BNTAC 3year Determination Celebration, to be held following the Youth Summit as a whole-of-community and family event
- Part one of the Bigambul Language Preservation Project, which also represents an ongoing work program for BNTAC
Australian Rail Track Corporation – Inland Rail have a formal Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) in place with BNTAC. Through the CHMP in place, ARTC-Inland Rail currently have a workforce in our Determination Area comprising: one Senior Cultural Heritage Field Officer and two Cultural Heritage Field Officers. Funding was also committed to BNTAC toward development of the Bigambul Cultural Induction Program and purchase of Geo-spatial equipment; and ARTC-Inland Rail are also making a one-off financial contribution to the BNTAC 2019 Youth Summit.
Origin Energy is also a proponent operating in our Determination Area. At the End of September 2018, BNTAC was gifted a decommissioned Camp by Origin. The gifted, 50man camp from Origin Energy was received and placed on the Millmerran property during 2018/2019. The Camp includes:
- Industrial kitchen
- Self-contained dongers / demountables
- Dining / Mess hall
- Equipment and furniture
- Electric Boards
- Outdoor Dining
It is noteworthy too that as part of current discussions and working arrangements with all proponents, there is an emphasis on identifying and cultivating increased training, graduate and employment opportunities. For instance, both ARTC-Inland Rail and QGC Shell presented on local work opportunities and training and employment pathways at the 2019 Youth Summit.
Other successful applications / proposals for the 2018/2019 period also included BNTAC’s submission to the Commonwealth Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts Program. BNTAC have now secured financial support to build on stage one of our Language Preservation program, to develop audio visual and written resources, complemented by local artists’ works, that can be disseminated broadly and used as key teaching and educational tools for current and future generations. This project is a major focus in 2019/2020.
These outcomes highlight the amount of work and efforts undertaken for 2018/2019; as well as the growth and expansion that has occurred to BNTAC’s current and forecast work program. This places BNTAC is a strong and capable position moving into the next 12month activity period.