We have always been committed to building stronger, more meaningful relationships with Indigenous people and organisations through the principles of understanding, respect and acceptance.
Our current commitment includes supporting local employment by contracting to Indigenous enterprises, sponsorship and strict compliance and partnership in relation to Native Title and Cultural Heritage.
We have taken an important step on our reconciliation journey launching our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) during NAIDOC Week in November 2020.
Our NQBP Reconciliation Action Plan 2020 to 2022 builds on our existing relationships with Traditional Owners in its port communities throughout Queensland.
We have been actively engaging and building relationships with the Traditional Owners of our ports over several decades.
This has included procurement through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses, community engagement through sponsorships and most recently recognition of language with the naming of Gudyara Road in Mackay.
This RAP extends our engagement and is a further commitment to actions identified in collaboration with Traditional Owners that aim to lead to positive outcomes for the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities within our Port areas.
It includes engaging staff and stakeholders in reconciliation and developing and piloting innovative strategies to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Our vision for Reconciliation is to build sustainable and meaningful partnerships and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We will strive to enhance reconciliation through embracing diversity, building respect and providing equitable opportunities.
The development of the RAP included engagement with our Traditional Owner groups; Juru at Abbot Point, Yuwi at Mackay and Hay Point and the Algnith and Wik Waya at Weipa.
Endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, NQBP’s RAP outlines the actions the organisation will take under the key focus areas of relationships, respect, opportunities and governance.
The RAP features original artwork ‘Protecting Life through Knowledge’ and was prepared for NQBP by artist and designer, Casey Coolwell, a Quandamooka, Nunukul woman with traditional ties to North Stradbroke Island on her father's side and linkages to the Aboriginal and South Sea Islander people of Bowen and Mardigan people of Eulo through her mother's side.
“The artwork represents the communities of NQBP’s ports (Mackay, Weipa, Abbot Point and Hay Point) and their surrounding waters,” Ms Coolwell said.
“In our Aboriginal Dreaming we believe that when we pass away, we come back as an animal or plant. The Turtle in the art piece represents an Ancestoral Being protecting the surrounding waters.”
“The yellow ‘rock’ pattern represents a traditional fish trap. This holds valuable knowledge of how people hunted and gathered, using natural resources.
“Learning how the fish trap works and maintaining its powerful knowledge is indicated in the gathered dots outside the fish trap.
“The artwork includes a pattern illustrating the scales of a fish and another representing the four different communities and their connections to the land and surrounding seas.
“Coloured icons signify the four different communities with the dotted lines representing communications, tracking and trading lines.
“Each gathered circle throughout the pattern represents community coming together in a yarning circle.
“The background ‘spiral’ pattern indicates the ripples of the water, as each of the four communities is located on the edge of the land and sea,” Ms Coolwell said.
NQBP supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses through economic participation strategies.
NQBP and Juru Enterprise Limited (JEL) have worked closely over the past ten years to build a strong working relationship, business capability and sustainable performance.
In 2018, NQBP engaged JEL to conduct weed management at the Port of Abbot Point.
The initial commitment of two years and support to provide training and equipment enabled JEL to employ four additional local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths. NQBP has now extended our commitment for the weed management contract to the end of 2025.
In 2019, additional support for training of the Land Management Crew was provided to enable the completion of turtle monitoring and tagging operations. This included formal training provided to Traditional Owners by the Queensland Government to conduct monitoring during turtle nesting and hatching season. Active protection of nests from predators was also included in the scope of the training and these skills will provide positive cultural and ecological outcomes.
“Working with NQBP has been a very rewarding opportunity for not only myself but our staff as well, we have learnt much more than Environmental Land Management and leadership, but business opportunities within our own organisation for growth and development. I am very proud to be a part of this growing friendship," Jessica Vakameilalo, JEL
As part of strengthening our relationship with the Yuwi People of the Mackay and Hay Point region, in January 2020 NQBP named a new road at the Port of Mackay in Yuwi language.
The new road, which provides direct access to North Wall Beach and sea, is known as Gudyara Road, meaning “sea” in Yuwi language.
The naming of the road recognises the special connection of the Yuwi People to the port land and sea country. It will also help to revive knowledge and understanding of the Yuwi language.
Yuwi Elder, Gary Mooney, said the name was chosen because sea country is very important to the Yuwi People.
“A new direct access to the beach is very important. The name Gudyara reflects this and the use of Indigenous languages is very important for the betterment of Yuwi culture”, (Gary Mooney, Yuwi Elder).
NQBP CEO, Nicolas Fertin, said the road naming acknowledges the Port of Mackay is in the Traditional land and sea country of the Yuwi People and supports the recognition and revival of the Yuwi language. Read more about Gudyara Road.
In 2019, NQBP provided sponsorship for NAIDOC celebrations at Mackay and Bowen. This included direct funding for:
NQBP has also provided local sponsorship for Aboriginal Rugby League teams in Mackay, Bowen and Cape York. These sponsorships help support the community teams with jerseys.
NQBP also has a partnership with the North Queensland Cowboys, which includes engaging with Indigenous students in NQBP’s port communities.
We look forward to supporting activities within our port communities that build respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories.