Aboriginal pastoral employment and enterprises across Northern Australia are coming under the spotlight as part of the most thorough review of the industry ever undertaken.
Cattle for Country is a new Desert Knowledge CRC research project that brings together pastoralists, Aboriginal organisations and enterprises, government departments and industry groups all over northern Australia.
It is the first time the cattle industry, hard hit by the national skills shortage, is funding research into Aboriginal employment initiatives.
The three-year project will find out how to best strengthen Aboriginal cattle enterprises, build productive partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cattle companies and create and sustain employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal people in the industry.
The CRC’s Managing Director, Ms Jan Ferguson, said research benefits will go beyond helping to create jobready local workforces and more viable cattle businesses.
“It’s also about learning how the industry can best realise a range of cultural, environmental and social benefits.”
“Strengthening existing initiatives will lead to improvements in the governance and business management capacity of remote communities, more collaborative management operations such as joint musters between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cattle enterprises, easier access to country for traditional owners through better roads and infrastructure and a healthier environment through the control of weeds, feral animals and fires.”
Cattle for Country has three components:
- Review of Aboriginal employment in the pastoral industry
- Evaluation of the Indigenous Pastoral Program
- Evaluation of Kimberley Indigenous Management Support Services (KIMSS)
In the first of these, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) are cofunding the Desert Knowledge CRC to conduct a 12-month review of Aboriginal employment initiatives in the mainstream pastoral industry.
The review will document and analyse case studies of successes and failures to develop best practice employment models.
“Many northern beef producers are struggling to source labour …