Live and Thrive on Country Stage 2

Organisation: The Centre for Appropriate Technology

Project: Live and Thrive on Country Stage 2

Amount: $100,000 over two years

Year of grant: 2015

The “Live and Thrive” on Country stage 2 grant follows on from a grant that The John Villiers Trust gave in 2013, to support remote Queensland Indigenous people to:

Live – support the development and self-management of safe, appropriate infrastructure

Thrive – support and foster the development of sustainable livelihoods, jobs and economic independence

On Country – on their traditional homelands

In July 2015, The John Villiers Trust granted $100,000 over 2 years to further support these initiatives.

One of these initiatives included the pilot project at Oriners Rangers Base on Cape York.  This project was a partnership between the Centre for Appropriate Technology and the Alternative Technology Association, utilizing volunteer solar installers from the southern states to design and install a remote stand-alone solar power system to support a remote indigenous conservation program and carbon farming business.  An example of the need for enabling sustainable infrastructure that support livelihoods on country, this pilot proved highly successful and the plan is to expand this project to other interested indigenous groups on the Cape in the near future.

With a direct focus on fostering sustainable livelihoods, another project supported under the program includes participatory strategic planning workshops with the Darrba Land Trust, near the Hopevale region of Cape York.  The planning workshops co- sponsored by the State Government, involved the Centre for Appropriate Technology facilitating a series of participatory planning workshops over an 18 month period, attended by key elders and members from the various and dispersed family groups involved. The aim being to bring people together to enable a unified vision for the development of economic and social outcomes from their traditional land through the creation of the ‘Darrba Future Plan’.

In supporting Community based innovation in infrastructure a stand out project under the Live and Thrive on Country program is the Burri Gummin (One Fire) -Yarrabah Affordable Housing Project The project aims to break new ground by pioneering the first application of  a ‘Community Land Trusts’ model of affordable home ownership in an indigenous community. This approach has been highly successful in the US, Canada and Europe at providing affordable home ownership to low income and disadvantaged communities. Research has suggested this approach will work well for indigenous communities.  The Project test this assertion via an initial feasibility project building on the aspirations of a group of committed local residents who first proposed and continue to champion the idea.  To date the project has secured additional funding to support the project, secured and surveyed a 2-hectare site in Yarrabah, completed a range of participatory design workshops and engaged the probono support of key universities including University of Sydney, Melbourne and Western Sydney..

Importantly, the project aims to include 5 small villa type houses owned by individuals with disabilities with ownership and other support services provided under the community land trust. .  The vision for the project includes the aim “to help the recovery and healing of those that are less fortunate, both elderly and young people, by creating the opportunity for them to achieve home ownership so they have a home to call their own”.

The Centre for Appropriate Technology believes the projects that are able to be performed under the Live and Thrive on Country program have systemic impacts on the remote indigenous communities involved. “we arrive on the invite of the community, to help bring the resources they need to achieve their own aspirations for a better future from their remote traditional lands. It starts with helping secure a clean drinking water supply… and builds to a vision and plan for economic independence” states Peter Renehan, Chairman of CAT and Arrernte Traditional Owner.