ORANGE Local Aboriginal Land Council (OLALC) began work on the Bringing Back Country program near Shadforth, east of Orange yesterday.
The OLALC received $2.26 million over five years under a federal biodiversity fund and will put it to work regenerating 1900 hectares of land across Orange.
Orange land council chief executive officer Annette Steele said the funding will allow them to regenerate land and create employment opportunities.
“It will help regenerate this land [at Shadforth] by planting native seedlings in the area,” she said.
Once grown, the native grasses will then be used by the Wahi-Win Migay weaving group to make baskets.
“This will be our cultural place and we’re bringing our community back together,” Ms Steele said.
“Bringing back country isn’t just about restoring land it’s about restoring people ... to restore one you restore the other.”
Under the funding OLALC will also build a seeding nursery which Ms Steele said they hope to run as a self-sufficient project within five years.
“We will plant native plants which in return gives sustainability and gives employment outcomes and a sustainable future,” she said.
Ms Steele said the nursery will be built on a four hectare plot of land they are in the process of securing.
“The five years [of federal funding] is more about our start up time and hopefully within that five years the development and employment may be sustainable.”
Ms Steele said the OLALC has partnered up with a number of groups for these projects including Greening Australia, Catchment Management Authority and Cadia Valley Operations.
“All the people we’re involved with can see the vision for the future,” she said.