Businesses urged to collaborate with traditional owners
Small business owners and major corporations have been urged to work closely with traditional owners when undertaking new projects in the region.
Senator Pat Dodson, Nyamba Buru Yawuru chief executive Peter Yu, MG Corp chief executive Allan Wedderburn and Kooljaman chairwoman Rosanna Angus were invited to present at last week’s Kimberley Economic Forum and their message was a simple and united one — work together.
During the Working Together with Traditional Owners session, the four each spoke about their values and mission and how collaboration could benefit the region.
Mr Dodson said increased cohesion would make it easier to convince the Government to fund initiatives that help build social capital and provide economic benefit.
“There are many examples of how you may negotiate with native title holders to accommodate your interests,” he said.
Mr Dodson said there was a perception that native title and tenure was a source of contention, but it did not have to be that way.
He said the Djarindjin Airport was a perfect example of collaboration, which saw the Broome International Airport establish a hub in the Djarindjin community to service the oil and gas industry.
“That kind of thing is very encouraging, especially because they borrowed $6 million and paid it back in record time.”
Mr Yu said native title groups played a strong role in the cohesion and had to address issues such as activating the economic value of the land, while best supporting the the nation’s first people.
Similar to NBY, Mr Wedderburn said it was important for MG Corp to focus on an economic plan, while remaining true to culture.
He said the corporation was committed to proving that native title was not something businesses and organisations should be afraid of.
“We are well and truly open for business and it is important for us to get that message across.”