- New project to deliver a co-designed West Kimberley Climate Adaptation Strategy
- Initiative will help provide the foundation for a long-term approach for managing the effects of climate change in the West Kimberley
- $1.86 million project is an action under the Cook Government's Climate Adaptation Strategy, launched earlier this year
Traditional Owners in the West Kimberley are responding to the effects of climate change through a new partnership with the Cook Government.
This project, aimed at building climate resilience among Traditional Owners in the West Kimberley, will run over three years as a partnership between the Nulungu Institute Research at the University of Notre Dame Australia and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.
The project will engage a range of partners to build a body of evidence combining Aboriginal scientific knowledge and western science to develop an Aboriginal-led West Kimberley climate change adaptation and resilience strategy.
Empowering and supporting the climate resilience of Aboriginal people was a key direction of the State Government's Climate Adaptation Strategy, published in July.
The strategy highlighted that climate resilience for Aboriginal people will be best achieved through empowerment of local decision-making and integration of local knowledge.
Engagement will include opportunities for cultural mapping, on-Country consultations, and collection of traditional ecological knowledge.
The project will include the delivery of two locally based programs to implement climate mapping and adaptation initiatives.
This will include using traditional knowledge and stories to identify the impacts of climate change on the Fitzroy River and surrounds.
Through partnerships with local communities and the Martuwarra River Keepers, a monitoring framework, with both conventional and traditional knowledge, will be established to measure the effects and impacts of climate change on the people, biodiversity, rivers, floodplains and wetlands of the area.
This approach will be showcased in 2024 during a West Kimberley Climate Talking Circle forum, which will bring together Aboriginal people and climate scientists to identify and prioritise climate risks in the region.
For more information on the State Government's Climate Adaptation Strategy, visit: https://www.wa.gov.au/service/environment/environment-information-services/climate-adaptation-strategy
Comments attributed to Climate Action Minister Reece Whitby:
"West Kimberley Aboriginal people have an ancient, deep knowledge of their living landscape.
"This project demonstrates the commitment they have to understanding climate change in order to meet the challenges it presents.
"The project will ultimately deliver a West Kimberley Climate Adaptation Strategy which aligns with the Cook Government's Climate Adaptation Strategy released this year.
"It is a great example of how we can work together to build a climate resilient Western Australia."
Comments attributed to Water Minister Simone McGurk:
"I am pleased to see the establishment of this project, one of the key actions under the Cook Government's Climate Adaptation Strategy.
"Understanding the impacts of climate change on our environment is an emerging body of work, and I am confident the knowledge of Traditional Owners will make a crucial contribution in this area.
"By working closely with the local community, we can ensure Traditional Owners' knowledge is at the forefront of the strategy to respond to climate change."
Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Divina D'Anna:
"It's fantastic to see Traditional Owners actively involved in understanding the impacts of climate change, ensuring their invaluable knowledge plays a vital role in our response."
"This effort not only highlights the commitment of the Cook Labor Government but also highlights the importance of community partnerships, involving various stakeholders to co-design effective climate adaptation strategies.
"It's a step in the right direction for building a sustainable and resilient future for our region."
Comments attributed to University of Notre Dame Australia Professor Anne Poelina:
"This project signals a strong commitment from the Western Australian Government to build on extensive community partnerships, with diverse university and industry partners to develop the business case for investment in bottom-up, co-designed climate adaptation."