Categories: guest post, environment, indigenous, topical issues, recommended reading, stories, general
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This post written by Justin Glass, Development Manager, Trust for Nature
Trust for Nature is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established to protect native habitat on private land. Established under the Victorian Conservation Trust Act (1972), Trust for Nature is the only Victorian organisation to protect bushland with conservation covenants that last in perpetuity.
Trust for Nature has conservation covenants on about 1100 Victorian properties covering 46,000 hectares; owns a further 47 properties covering about 35,000 hectares and has transferred a further 67 properties to the State.
Image: Map of Victorian covenants and location of Neds Corner. Download as PDF.
Trust for Nature’s Strategic Plan stresses the importance of stakeholder engagement in private land conservation particularly with local Indigenous and Traditional Owner groups. At the Trust’s largest property, the 30,000 hectare former grazing property, ‘Neds Corner Station’, located 70 km west of Mildura, Trust for Nature has done a lot of work with Indigenous people to concurrently protect cultural assets and native species. It was purchased in 2002 for large scale conservation research and practice with assistance from the Commonwealth Government, the RE Ross Trust, the Cybec Foundation, The Meles Fund, The Limb Foundation and many other generous individuals.
The Indigenous history of Neds Corner Station is as rich as its natural heritage. It is thought that the patterns of native plants and wildlife found by the first Europeans were shaped by Indigenous use of the region dating from about 13,000 years ago. The Murray River provided food for large communities of Indigenous people and areas like Neds Corner Station became important sites for trade and cultural ceremonies. Archaeological discoveries in the area continue to provide us with valuable insights into how the land was managed and the cultural significance it holds for Indigenous people.
Photo: Indigenous crew erecting fences
around sensitive sites
At Neds Corner Station many projects have been undertaken to protect Indigenous cultural heritage by Trust for Nature and local Indigenous people including:
- Completing over 50 kilometres of fencing to protect important Indigenous cultural sites have been built by Indigenous and non-Indigenous fencers in partnership with Mallee Catchment Management Authority Indigenous Advisory Officers;
- Securing Commonwealth funding to establish a large-scale fence, that builds on earlier work to improve cultural heritage protection and research environmental restoration and cultural heritage protection working in together. Trust for Nature is thankful for further investments by philanthropists that build on this Commonwealth grant and enable additional works to be planned.
- Trust for Nature has established a partnership with La Trobe University that provides training in the recognition and management of cultural sites to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people;
- Commenced development of a cultural heritage management plan for Neds Corner;
- Created a “Keeping Place” for Indigenous cultural items requiring removal as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Living Murray works;
- Develop a project plan to obtain funding for Indigenous officers in ecology and land management.
Photo: Blue and MEEP participant
erecting rabbit-proof fence
With the recent floods and good seasons the River is again awash with fish, turtles, crustaceans including water mussels. Kangaroos, emus, tree goannas, shingleback lizards and move over earth that is filled with yams, soft root tubers, other edible roots and herbaceous perennials. This currently abundant supply of food, reminds us of how the Neds Corner Station area has provided Indigenous people with food and supplies for millennia. Neds Corner Station and its surrounding areas are believed to contain one of the highest densities of Indigenous cultural objects and burial sites in Victoria.
Trust for Nature recognises the significance of these sites and works closely with the Indigenous people of the Murray region to protect them from potential exposure caused by erosion, rabbit burrowing and other animal or human disturbance. Protection of cultural heritage is often best achieved through the promotion of native plants and the Trust, in partnership with many others has undertaken work to regenerate native vegetation and protection of Indigenous sites synergistically.
The goal of Trust for Nature at Neds Corner is to promote the bond between people and the landscape, a bond demonstrated by Indigenous use of the land for millennia. Achieving closer ties with the Indigenous community will be an important part of our journey.
For further information on Trust for Nature or Neds Corner Station please contact Justin Glass, Development Manager, Trust for Nature - (03) 8631 5888, www.trustfornature.org.au
Categories: What's New, PhilanthropyWiki, indigenous, topical issues, stories, research & information, news, recommended reading, general
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Indigenous philanthropy is the theme of our latest issue of Australian Philanthropy, Issue 80, December 2011.
Indigenous philanthropy is both an area in need of funding and support, and a lens through which other areas of philanthropic work can be viewed. Cultural, artistic, educational and health challenges are all being addressed by different groups in the not-for-profit sector. This issue of Australian Philanthropy offers firsthand accounts of the work being done. This issue also provides an opportunity for philanthropists and other professionals in the sector who work with Indigenous people and communities to share their knowledge and experiences.
By Rikki Andrews, Philanthropy Australia
Indigenous people are significantly over-represented in the Australian justice system. ABS surveys in 2008 note that while Indigenous people make up 2.5 per cent of the Australian population they make up over 25 per cent of the prison population. An ABS 2010 report indicated that there has been a 47 per cent rise in incarceration of Indigenous women. Most critically the Federal Government report Doing Time – Time For Doing: Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system highlighted the need for early intervention to reduce this over-representation.
Red Dust Role Models (PDF)
By Darren Smith
In remote regions of Australia some children have limited opportunities in life due to geographical isolation, limited access to education, socioeconomic conditions, severe health and hygiene issues or lack of safe and suitable play environments. Red Dust Role Models seeks to improve the general health and wellbeing of disadvantaged Indigenous youth by addressing obvious health challenges and improving educational opportunities. Red Dust seeks to remove barriers, enable access and create opportunities that provide pathways for positive social change.
By Amanda Martin, Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network
Given continuing development and land pressure across Australia, increasing water scarcity and the projected impacts of climate change on species composition and distribution across the ontinent, there are strong global, national, regional and local grounds to prioritise conservation in the Indigenous estate.
Our previous issue, Communicating with each other and the world (Issue 79, Spring 2011) is now available for Members to download from the PhilanthropyWiki here.
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The final guidelines for Public Ancillary Funds (PuAFs) were released in late December and can be accessed on ComLaw here: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2011L02758
There are some changes from the draft guidelines, all of which were proposed in Philanthropy Australia’s submission in response to the draft Guidelines.
- The minimum distribution is 4% of the fund’s assets or $8,800 (previously $11,000) if the 4% is less than $8,800.
- The requirement for all PuAFs to be audited annually has been altered. PuAFs with revenue and assets of less than $1 million in relation to a particular financial year may instead have its financial statements and compliance with the guidelines reviewed rather than audited.
- Item 42, relating to benefits to founders/donors, has been altered. A PuAF may now provide benefits to associates of the donor or founder which are Deductible Gift Recipients. This means that (for example) fundraising foundations which have been established by a hospital will be able to distribute to that hospital even though it is technically the PuAF’s founder.
- If a fund’s governing rules prevent compliance with a requirement of Part 2 to the Guidelines, it is now exempt from that requirement until 1 July 2015 (previously 1 January 2015)
Categories: government, news, advocacy
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Assistant Treasurer Mark Abib has extended the deadlines for responses to several government reform papers affecting the not-for-profit sector, as reported in the NFP Newsletter issued on December 23.
- Submissions on the exposure draft of the ACNC legislation are now due 27 January 2012
- Submissions on the consultation paper on the governance framework for the Not-for-Profit sector are now due 27 January 2012
- Submissions in response to the ACNC administrative systems are noe due 27 February 2012
Philanthropy Australia welcomes the extension of time for responses.
Other upcoming reform matters include:
- Further consultation on NFP tax concessions, proposed for early 2012
- Exposure draft of the proposed statutory definition of charity, due mid-2012
- A second exposure draft for consultation on the ‘in Australia’ principle, early 2012
Philanthropy Australia will keep you updated on these matters and our draft submissions will be made available to members for comment.
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