Planning for Your Community (2017 Native Title Conference Presentation)

June 06, 2017 at 5:00 PM


Hot on the heels of winning a commendation award from the Planning Institute of Australia (Queensland), in the category of ‘Public Engagement and Community Planning’ in November 2016, together with the Western Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation RTNBC (“WYAC”), we made a submission to present the Western Yalanji People Community Plan at the Native Title Conference. Our submission was accepted and Alwyn Lyall (Chairperson, WYAC), Breanna Lyall (Member, WYAC), Jasmine Clubb (Project Officer, FAME Unit) and myself presented at the Conference.

For my part, the ‘community planning’ initiative was one that I’ve wanted to get off the ground for a long time – I saw it as a way that the community can get engaged, voice their aspirations and determine the direction of their affairs. In doing this, it also gives clear direction to the PBC in what it negotiates and how it implements beneficial terms of their negotiated outcomes. The biggest challenge to realising any initiative like community planning is however, funding, but in 2013 our then CEO, Ian Kuch, supported developing the project and PM&C approved delivery of the project as a component of the FAME Unit’s ILUA Implementation activities. I am very proud to witness the results WYAC has attained in implementing their Community Plan.

Jasmine spoke about the professional development she experienced as the Project Officer on the matter – the opportunity to meet more members of the Western Yalanji community; hear their aspirations; be welcomed and shown around Western Yalanji country; work with WYAC on implementation on certain aspects of their Community Plan and seeing their aspirations being achieved. Jasmine also talked about the importance of including the community in the process and hoped that younger people especially would feel encouraged to participate in future planning processes - to have the aspirations of the youth heard and met.

Alwyn and Breanna spoke in detail about what their Community Plan has meant for WYAC. During the planning process they had the opportunity to engage with members of the Western Yalanji community that they otherwise have not had the chance to deal directly with, particularly their people on Palm Island who were happy to engage in planning the process and look forward to more activities for them to participate on country. Alwyn and Breanna also talked about challenges WYAC has faced with implementing the Community Plan and also the achievements WYAC has had to date. WYAC has used their Community Plan to support funding applications and demonstrate to other stakeholders that WYAC has a roadmap for their directions and capacity to accomplish their objectives.

The presentation was well received and in addition to the questions from the floor following the presentation, a number of people approached Alwyn afterwards to find out more. We hope it has inspired others to undertake similar processes for their People.

Written by Rhonda M Jacobsen
Engagement and Development Support Team