Jabalbina partnership with Rainforest 4 takes out highest Reconciliation Award in Queensland

Outstanding initiatives driving reconciliation have been recognised in the 2021 Queensland Reconciliation Awards presented in Townsville. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said “The winners of the Premier’s Reconciliation Award and joint winners in the Partnership category, the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and Rainforest 4 Foundation have formed a unique partnership – the only formalised, non-Government program which purchases land for conservation to be owned and managed by its Traditional Owners.

Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation has been working hand-in-hand with Rainforest 4 Foundation to buy back the Daintree and return it to its rightful owners – the Kuku Yalanji people.

Last night, the partnership was recognised at the 2021 Queensland Reconciliation Awards presented in Townsville. The collaboration not only won the Partnership Award category but also took out the highest honour of the night – the Premier’s Award for Reconciliation. The award was accepted on behalf of Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation by Kuku Yalanji Traditional Owners Lyn Johnson and her granddaughter Michelle Friday-Mooka.

“This year, the Queensland Reconciliation Awards have honoured initiatives which have enhanced cultural awareness and understanding and improved the experiences of First Nations people at school, at work and in the community,” the Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“The winners of the Premier’s Reconciliation Award and joint winners in the Partnership category, the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and Rainforest 4 Foundation have formed a unique partnership – the only formalised, non-Government program which purchases land for conservation to be owned and managed by its Traditional Owners,” she said.

Both organisations have sought out this partnership based on mutual values focussed on self-determination for custodians of Country, protecting Cultural, biodiversity and conservation values of Country and working collaboratively to understand issues and develop solutions.

The collaborating organisations – Jabalbina Yalanji, Rainforest 4 and HalfCut have formed a unique partnership which sees them work collaboratively to identify Daintree properties, originally sub-divided in the 1980s, with high cultural and conservation values. Rainforest4 and HalfCut activate their supporter base to raise funds to purchase the properties. Once the blocks are purchased, the title is transferred to Jabalbina Yalanji Land Trust. Jablabina then determines the best course of action in terms of reconnecting people with Country and allowing the land to heal. In time, Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation works with the Queensland Government to have the blocks added to the Daintree National Park estate. 

Lyn Johnson, Chair Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation Chair said she accepted the award on behalf of the staff of both organisations, rangers working on Country and the team at HalfCut who have raised money to make the project possible. She also acknowledged Andrew Solomon and the Solomon family who are members of the Jalunji Clan - Traditional Owners of the land that has been purchased through the partnership. 

Lyn said she was incredibly nervous accepting the award which she did barefoot. But not intentionally.

“I think it’s because there were so many government people there. A lot of authority figures. It was really good though. I haven’t stepped out in society like that for a long time.”

“When we were walking around out the front, having nibbles and drinks, I busted my shoe, so I had to go on to stage with no shoes. How traditional,” she said.

Her granddaughter Michelle also removed her shoes in solidarity with her grandma.

“I’ve never been so nervous in my life,” Lyn said.

“This partnership… it’s what reconciliation is all about.”

“It’s actually about something being returned to Bama. Together we move forward.”

“Reconciliation happens all the time between us as partners. That’s how it works. You, Rainforest 4, do the hard yards, we don’t. Jimmy Halfcut too…”

“We couldn’t do it without you really. It’s a whole team effort and it’s how the old people used to work. It’s a big thank you all ‘round.”

Lyn’s granddaughter Michelle Friday-Mooka echoed her words.

“Reconciliation isn’t just today, yesterday, this week,” she said, “it’s every day. And we are extremely humbled and honoured to be a part of this great partnership.”

“I think we under-estimate the value and power of our partnership. We gave a voice to a lot of people in the room last night.”

“Honestly, we couldn’t do it without partners.”

“We made an impression on everyone in the room,” Michelle said. “I don’t know if it was the words we spoke, or our bare feet.”

We would like to thank the following for their support and efforts to make this partnership a success. The Eastern Kuku Yalanji, Kulki and Kaba Kaban Traditional Owners, the Jabalbina team, Jimmy and the Halfcut, Colin Biggers and Paisley, and all of the donors who have supported this project!

. .. . . . . . . .

To learn more about the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation please see their website

Lyn Johnson is the Chair of the Board at Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and Michelle Friday-Mooka is Deputy Chair.

JOINT STATEMENT Published 01.06.2021 at 08:30 PM

Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister for Seniors and Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Craig Crawford

See https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/92244

Extract: 

Premier’s Reconciliation Award

Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and Rainforest 4 Foundation

Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and Rainforest 4 Foundation share values of protecting the Daintree’s globally significant conservation and cultural values while reconnecting people with Country. The two organisations have formed a unique partnership which sees collaborative efforts to identify Daintree properties, originally sub-divided in the 1980s, with high cultural and conservation values. Rainforest 4 Foundation activates its supporter base to raise funds to purchase the properties. Once the blocks are purchased, the title is transferred to Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation which determines the best course of action in terms of reconnecting people with Country and allowing the land to heal. Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation also works to have the land added to the Daintree National Park.

Partnership

JOINT WINNER Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and Rainforest 4 Foundation

Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and Rainforest 4 Foundation share values of protecting the Daintree’s globally significant conservation and cultural values while reconnecting people with Country. The two organisations have formed a unique partnership which sees collaborative efforts to identify Daintree properties, originally sub-divided in the 1980s, with high cultural and conservation values. Rainforest 4 Foundation activates its supporter base to raise funds to purchase the properties. Once the blocks are purchased, the title is transferred to Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation which determines the best course of action in terms of reconnecting people with Country and allowing the land to heal. Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation also works to have the land added to the Daintree National Park.

Both organisations have sought out this partnership based on mutual values focussed on self-determination for custodians of Country, protecting cultural, biodiversity and conservation values of Country and working collaboratively to understand issues and develop solutions. As an Aboriginal land holding entity with 75 per cent Indigenous staff, Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation manages the process of returning land back to Eastern Kuku Yalanji people and protecting it in perpetuity as part of the Daintree National Park.

The partnership is the only formalised non-government program in Australia that purchases land for conservation to be owned and managed by its Traditional Owners. Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation provides cultural expertise, ranger experience and staff to steer the project, and Rainforest 4 Foundation provides expertise in fundraising and advocacy for rainforests.

 

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  • John Stevens
    commented 2021-06-02 17:19:34 +1000
    This is such good news. It is the perfect partnership to fulfil Rainforest 4 mission. 4 the people, 4 the wildlife 4 the climate 4 the plant. Legends one and all.
  • Kelvin Davies
    published this page in Latest News 2021-06-02 11:04:15 +1000