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Forestry comes naturally for Indigenous Australians.

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Last updated: 22 July 2005

Forestry comes naturally for Indigenous Australians

DAFF05/140M 22 July 2005

Australia's Indigenous population is being urged to get involved in the forest and wood products industry.

Launching the National Indigenous Forestry Strategy in Cairns today, Australian Forestry and Conservation Minister Senator Ian Macdonald said, with 13 per cent of the country's forest area under Indigenous ownership, the industry was a logical source of employment for Aboriginal Australians.

"Greater participation by Indigenous communities can be achieved by building an attractive forestry industry while recognising the importance of country to Indigenous communities," Senator Macdonald said.

The Australian Government established a steering committee two years ago to identify opportunities for Indigenous involvement in the forestry industry.

The steering committee, which was made up of members from the Australian Government, the forestry sector and Indigenous representatives in eight regional locations across the country, including the far north, have played a big part in developing the strategy.

The National Indigenous Forestry Strategy has been broken down into sections covering:

● leadership,

● the inclusion of communities in all planning and development,

● capacity building,

● consistency of approach by government and industry direction, and

● the recognition of social and cultural issues.

Senator Macdonald said there were many ways that Indigenous communities could play a part in forestry.

"It may be by planting, managing and milling trees," Senator Macdonald said.

"But there are some that aren't so obvious, like making furniture or artefacts, bee-keeping, producing bush tucker and medicines, eco-tourism, managing cultural heritage sites or revegetation and site rehabilitation.

"The implementation of this strategy will improve the prosperity of Indigenous communities in regional Australia - economically, socially, culturally and environmentally."

Further inquiries:

Senator Macdonald’s office: David Crisafulli 0400 144 483

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