To date more than 7 million dollars has been invested in under the BHP/CQU Tertiary Agreement, providing vital funds that facilitate opportunities for education, training, community-led research, and educational inclusiveness for First Nations Peoples throughout regional Queensland.
BHP funding maintains the position of BMA/BHP Chair of Indigenous Engagement; offers scholarships to undergraduate and post graduate students; provides school outreach programs and ensures research projects are developed in partnership with communities and BHP industry partners.
BHP provides scholarships through the university Scholarships program, in a commitment to Indigenous people and non- Indigenous peoples of regional Queensland. The provision of BHP Scholarships provides eligible local students with the means to live and study, eventually contributing to their home communities. Scholarships awarded through a selection process that includes a written component to outline how the individual’s intended study focus will address the needs of regional Queensland.
Examples of the program’s success include the graduation of students supported since the start of the 2018-23 partnership. These scholars include teachers, occupational therapists, nurses, lawyers, medical scientists and exercise and sport scientists, paramedics, psychologists, who contribute to the prosperity of regional communities across the state.
BHP Chair in Indigenous Engagement
The BHP Chair in Indigenous Engagement role focuses on strategic planning, capacity building, engagement, and performance, to achieve better outcomes for First Nations Australians in education, training, research, and employment.
Professor Adrian Miller, Vice President Indigenous Engagement and Director of the Jawun Research Centre currently holds the BHP Chair position, under a five-year contract. His leadership impacts the University’s commitment to reconciliation through promotion of a sustainable culture of social equity for First Nations people and cross-cultural proficiency in staff members and in the student body.
In this role Professor Miller has to date overseen the development and approval of the CQUniversity Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2022-24, established the Jilbay Research by Higher Degree Academy and repositioned and grown the Jawun Research Centre.
He initiated the creation of the First Nations Community Engagement: Industry Guide Phase I launched in 2022. The Guide has improved First Nations community engagement for industry, organisations, and not for profit sectors benefiting both First Nations communities & sectors as its focus, with micro-credential training courses and toolkits being developed to improve multisectoral cultural capability.
Future proofing Indigenous communities: Establishing community-led Education/Enterprise/Research Hubs
Overview: The establishment of post-secondary Education/ Enterprise/Research Hubs that offer solutions for community-based education and employment challenges.
This project identifies and offers understanding of the processes required to develop and implement Community Hubs which respond to community needs and requirements to build capacity. Developing and implementing community-designed and driven Hubs requires building partnerships through collaboration with First Nations communities and key stakeholders. The research design for the project encompasses community and stakeholder engagement.
Education Hub establishment: The CQU Indigenous Student Support (ISS) team visit Woorabinda regularly to provide enrolment and education support for current and prospective higher education and VET students. The CQU Office in community provides a dedicated space for staff and students to interact effectively as well as a space for visiting researchers and CQUniversity staff.
Research Hub Establishment: The Woorabinda Research Hub is founded on five pillars that incorporate a perspective of strength and opportunity:
- Aim: to provide pathways to community-led research
- Relationship building: to ensure culturally appropriate research
- Protocols: for Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) protection
- Governance: to provide a framework for engagement and collaboration
- Informed decisions: for collaborative research that benefits community.
Project outcome: The development of this First Nations Community Engagement Guide is based on engagement processes utilised during community-led research.
Phase 1 Guide - Evaluating the impact of the establishment of PCYC in Woorabinda
Project Overview: The project examines the positive impact of the establishment of the Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) on youth behaviours in the Woorabinda community, including measurable impacts on crime rates, youth engagement, youth health, wellbeing and community harmony.
Investigating the Bioactivity of plants and remedies used in Indigenous Australian medicine.
Project Overview: This project examines the potential bioactivity of plants and remedies used in First Nations medicine and how this practice forms an element of the Woorabinda Research Hub. It offers opportunity for community-based and led research in the important field of bioactive medicine, specifically derived from First Nations knowledges of the medicinal properties of native plants and remedies. The study provides a positive starting point for the process of potential commercialisation of the plants and the remedies and the isolated derivative compounds.
Project lead: Dr Mani Naiker