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On the 8th Dec 2013, I attended an information session/workshop organised by the Worimi Conservation Lands Board, the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council (WLALC) & the ACT/NSW 4WD Association; regarding the Draft Plan of Management for the Worimi Conservation Lands (a.k.a Stockton Beach).
TLCC had been invited to send a rep to the meeting by Craig Thomas the ACT/NSW 4WD association President and given Andrew Boyd was otherwise engaged, I was asked if I could attend on behalf of TLCC.
The meeting commenced with a Welcome to Country delivered by Uncle Neville Lilley a Worimi Elder and Traditional Owner.
This was followed by an introduction by Mr Robert Quirk of NPWS. Robert gave a quick introduction and noted that he is also the Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) representative that sits on the Board of Management for the Worimi Conservation Lands.
Andrew Smith (CEO of the WLALC) then gave a compelling presentation that clearly illustrated the differences between what is…
- Worimi Conservation Lands (WCL) Board of management;
- the Worimi LALC; and
- Worimi People
It was very eye-opening and clearly demonstrated the separations of power, delegations, land tenures and authorities that these completely separate entities hold. To the untrained eye, these three (3) separate entities could easily be confused as being the one and same however; I can confirm that they are not.
I’d refer you to the .pdf available at www.worimiconservationlands.com for a makeup of the Board of Management that developed the Draft Plan of Management. Andrew outlined the spin-doctoring and concern caused through the broadcast on the Worimi Conservation Lands Plan of Management and noted the WLALC and the plans that they have for their own future. His message was clearly one of harmony and inclusion, not exclusion.
Petrice Manton (Chairperson, WCL Board of Management) spoke of the draft plan, the discussions with stakeholders, and the process used to come up with the draft plan. Petrice also spoke of the cultural significance of the area as an Aboriginal owner and the continuous cultural finds that have been made in the Stockton area. Petrice, like Andrew, is a compelling speaker, and both of them made the point that the responsible recreational 4WD community are welcome.
Robert Quirk returned to speak of the damage caused to the beach front area as a result of the storms in June 2012. In a nutshell, the first line of beach frontal dunes (along the water edge) have slowly eroded and breached over the years by unmanaged vehicular access. This uncontrolled activity has contributed to a heavy loss of vegetation & the frontal dunes are no longer capable of standing as a continual line of defence against the high tides and ever surging oceans. During the storms the area behind the frontal dunes was inundated with sea water and flooding was extensive as a result of the storm surge. This lead to extensive damage inland and further (rear) vegetation loss due to saltwater, not to mention further degradation of the frontal dunes, as the sea reseeded and took a lot of sand back out into the ocean with it.
A power point presentation and some powerful imagery were shown which clearly highlighted the level of the flooding that occurred. I think it is fair to say that most of us were very surprised at the extent of the damage.
Overall, the Draft WCL Plan of Management provides us with the following –
Following the presentations, the floor was opened up to questions. This took place for up to an hour or so.
The meeting then broke up for lunch with attendee’s being invited for a drive on the beach after lunch with some of the Rangers.
After the meeting concluded I approached Andrew Smith and we discussed a few quick idea’s to start some cooperation and assistance between TLCC and the Worimi LALC. As you know we have been active in clean ups for many years and I think this is the perfect opportunity for TLCC to make a positive contribution in a new area. Similarly, I think it would be a great benefit to our members to learn more about the significance of this area to its traditional owners – it’s a two way street that we should be involved in to benefit all parties.
I also approached Petrice Manton about speaking at our Feb 2014 general meeting and I hope to have both Andrew and Petrice come down and talk to our members as I’m confident it would be a great opportunity for TLCC members to get a clearer understanding of what is at stake for all concerned.
The Draft Plan is open for submissions till Feb 17 2014 and as such, I propose that we support the Draft Plan in its present state & make a submission supporting it.
Please make the time to have a look at the website above to download a copy of the draft plan.
I will keep you posted on dates and other information as it arises however; in the meantime, I am planning a trip to the area sometime in January to drive the area’s that will be open for us in order to gain a better understanding of the areas.