Researchers: Rachele Wilson, Dr Tristan Pearce
Funders: USC Fellowship Grant, Vice Chancellor's Honours Scholarship and HDR Output Grant
Partners: Kerry Jones, Sean Fleischfresser and Genevieve Jones (Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation)
Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
This research examined the roles, challenges and opportunities for Indigenous land management in urban and peri-urban landscapes through a case study of Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation (BBCAC) on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. The study is distinct in that it documents the work of Kabi Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) Traditional Owners, Australian South Sea Islanders, and historically-connected Aboriginal people in a setting that is peri-urban and urban in location and land use, and where native title has yet to be determined. This is in contrast to previous ILM research in Australia that tends to focus on rural or remote locations with large natural areas and protected lands.
Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, participant observation (e.g. during monitoring activities) and analysis of secondary sources (e.g. organisational documents) between 2014 and 2015. The data shows that Indigenous land managers in urban and peri-urban landscapes work in a variety of roles, particularly when partnering with other land user groups to manage complex environmental issues. Significant challenges to their work include the effects of urban development and population growth/change, poor cross-cultural engagement with decision-makers, a growing gap for work opportunities between Aboriginal and non-Indigenous organisations, and barriers to appropriate, long-term funding and resources. There are several opportunities to overcome these challenges through existing programs such as the Indigenous Ranger Program, decolonised decision-making tools (i.e. “boundary objects”) and sustainable enterprises that draw on public, private, and customary economies (e.g. eco-cultural tourism). The research highlights the need for bottom-up, Indigenous-driven approaches to ILM on the Sunshine Coast to address land management issues in a way that delivers socio-economic and cultural co-benefits to local Aboriginal peoples.
Wilson RS, Pearce T, Jones K, Fleischfresser S, Jones G, Lieske S. (submitted 2015). Indigenous land management in peri-urban landscapes. Journal of Society and Natural Resources.
Wilson RS & Pearce T. (2016). Management Challenges for Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Peri-urban Queensland. Australian Geographer, 1-15. doi:10.1080/00049182.2016.1254006. View online
Wilson R. 2015. Indigenous land management in urban and peri-urban landscapes. Thesis (Honours). View online
Conference and invited presentations
Presentation to Queensland Water and Land Carers, the Australian Coastal Society and Queensland’s Regional NRM Bodies at the Range, Reef and Red Dust Conference, Caloundra, on August 2, 2015.
Presentation to USC staff for the Indigenous Studies Research theme (ISRt) showcase on August 26, 2015.
Presentation to the Sustainability Research Centre at USC on April 21, 2015.
Presentation to USC staff, students and the public for Close the Gap Day at USC on March 5, 2015.
Facilitated workshop with Traditional Owners from BBCAC for USC students in the class SUS302 on September 19, 2016.
Facilitated workshop with Traditional Owners from BBCAC for USC students in the class SUS302 on September 21, 2015.
Facilitated workshops with Traditional Owners from BBCAC for high-school students during “Experience USC” on June 10-11, 2015.
Project video - watch video
Summary report for participants - download report