Young leaders score in NAIDOC awards

USQ Fraser Coast students Tor-quaisia Robe-Broome and Kassandra Waia have been honoured in the 2015 Fraser Coast NAIDOC Week Awards.

Ms Robe-Broome, who completed the Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program (IHEPP) in Semester 1, 2015, received the Young Leader Award which recognised a young person who has through employment, education or training been active in taking the lead on Indigenous Australian issues.

Ms Waia, a USQ nursing student, won the Deadly Choices Award which recognised a person who had taken the time to promote health and well-being throughout the Indigenous Australian community via their own example, education or awareness.


Tor-quaisia Robe-Broome shows her NAIDOC Week Young Leader Award .

USQ Vice Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas congratulated the young women on their successes.

“NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians such as Tor-quaisia and Kassandra make to our Country and our society,” Professor Thomas said.

Ms Robe-Broome, 18, said winning the Young Leader Award was “very exciting”.

“It feels good to be recognised – it means a lot,” she said.

“I didn’t realise how much I wanted to do stuff like this for the community. Winning this award has made me more determined to keep doing it.”

 Fraser Coast NAIDOC Committee Chairperson Leon Nehow said Ms Robe-Broome was a positive and inspirational role model to young people.

“This year Tor-quaisia successfully completed a Traineeship and Certificate lll in Community Services at the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

“Since completing this certificate, Tor-quaisia enrolled in further studies at USQ and has also gained employment.

“She has also been nominated in two categories as finalist for the 2015 Queensland Training Awards, which is the highest State level of recognition of excellence for trainees.

“Tor-quaisia is an inspiration as she has undertaken these achievements at a young age, while also being a young mother.

“She maintains a steadfast belief that she is doing all she can to provide the best opportunities in life for her young family.

Mr Leon Nehow said Ms Waia also deserved to be recognised as she had excelled with distinction by studying nursing and promoting her findings to expand Indigenous people’s health and well-being.

“Kassandra is a fantastic role model and also teaches Indigenous young people about culture.

“She presents a positive role model by sharing her knowledge, sets a high example by mentoring and is a quiet achiever.

“Kassandra, we commend your hard work and dedication.”

During the award ceremony, USQ Executive Manager Brett Langabeer presented Acting Police Sergeant Vanessa Rudloff with the Acknowledgement Award in recognition of her dedication to education within the community.

Mr Nehow said Acting Sergeant Rudloff had entered into the local Indigenous Australian community without prejudice and educated the people.

“She also attends meetings regularly and her efforts are commended.”



Photo:  USQ Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program (IHEPP) student Tor-quaisia Robe-Broome proudly shows her 2015 NAIDOC Week Young Leader Award.

This land is our land – federal court declares native title

CHEERS and tears of jubilation filled a temporary federal court room on Fraser Island yesterday (October 24, 2014) as Justice Berna Collier officially recognised the Butchulla people as the island’s native title holders.

It was an emotional day for the 450 Butchulla people who gathered to witness the historic occasion.

Butchulla elder Fiona Foley said the decision had been 18 years in the making.

Butchulla Native Title

Justice Berna Collier from the Federal Court of Australia receives a “thank you” kiss from Butchella elder Malcolm Burns.

“We’re very excited to finally get this recognition and see so many Butchulla people here at once,” Aunty Fiona said.

“I never thought this day would happen in my lifetime.”

Yesterday’s Native Title Consent Determination recognised the ongoing traditional laws and customs of the Butchulla people, while also specifying  native title rights and interests over about 1640 square kilometers of national park.

Excluded zones include Kingfisher Bay and Eurong resorts, Orchid Beach and Happy Valley.

Some of the Butchulla people’s rights and interests included maintaining areas of cultural significance, teaching and participating in rituals and ceremonies.

Queensland South Native Title Services CEO Kevin Smith said this momentous occasion closed the chapter on a long struggle for legal recognition and opened another that involved the management and leverage of recognised legal rights.

“Today is a day of celebration but the work starts tomorrow with what the Butchulla people will do with their native title,” Mr Smith said.

“It could be as simple as coming for song and dance or it could be working on eco-tourism.”

Mr Smith said a decision on the island’s name would be made some time in the future.

“Locals might still know it as Fraser Island but affectionately the traditional name K’Gari needs to catch on,” Mr Smith said.

Son says Aunty Olga here in spirit

AUNTY Olga Miller’s spirit was sure to be smiling over yesterday’s proceedings, according to her proud son Glen Miller.

“I’m a member of the Wondunna clan and we’re in the middle of Wondunna country now,” he said.

“Mum filed the first native title claim on Fraser Island 18 years ago and the Butchulla clan filed a year later.

“We’ve been waiting 18 years for this decision, so it’s a pretty historic day.

“As the judge said, it’s sad that some of those elders are not here today to share this with us but I’m sure they’re with us in spirit.

“Ever since I was a child and could understand English, Mum talked about the island and what it meant.

“Finally Butchulla people are recognised as traditional owners. I know it’s symbolic but symbolism means a lot to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.

“This decision gives us a foothold on which to go forward.

“Unfortunately the native title claim process is ridiculously lengthy, so to finally get this under such difficult circumstances makes today even more special.”

The late Aunty Olga Miller was a well-known Fraser Coast historian, author and artist. Her work is featured in many of the Fraser Coast’s public places.

Native title agreement rights

The Butchulla People’s Native Title Consent Determination includes non-exclusive rights to:

  • Access, be present on, move about on and travel over the area;
  • Camp, and live temporarily on the area as part of camping, and for that purpose to build temporary shelters;
  • Hunt, fish and gather on the land and waters of the area for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes;
  • Take, use, share and exchange natural resources from the land and waters for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes;
  • Take and use the water for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes;
  • Conduct, and participate in, rituals and ceremonies, including those relating to initiation, birth and death;
  • Be buried on and bury native title holders within the area;
  • Teach the physical, cultural and spiritual attributes of the area;
  • Hold meetings in the area;
  • Light fires for personal and domestic purposes including cooking, but not for the purpose of hunting or clearing vegetation.

Originally published in the Fraser Coast Chronicle, Saturday, October 25, 2014.