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CQUni and Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council to establish education/enterprise/research hub

Published:08 August 2019

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President Prof Nick Klomp and Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Cheyne Wilkie signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish an education/enterprise/research hub in the community. The signing was witnessed by Indigenous elders and representatives of local support services.

CQUniversity has committed to working with the Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council (WASC) and local service providers to improve employment and training opportunities for its residents.

CQUni and the WASC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish an education/enterprise/research hub in the community.

The MOU signing between CQUni Vice-Chancellor and President Prof Nick Klomp, CQUni Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement)/BHP Chair of Indigenous Engagement Prof Adrian Miller, WASC Mayor Cheyne Wilkie and WASC Chief Executive Officer Michael Hayward, took place on 8 August in the WASC chambers and is the latest significant step in the partnership.

CQUni Office of Indigenous Engagement Research Officer Dr Carolyn Daniels said the MOU is intended to support the development of education, enterprise and research activities in Woorabinda.

“Meetings with key Woorabinda stakeholders in the community about the development and implementation of education, enterprise and employment creating strategies in Woorabinda began in late 2018,” Dr Daniels said.

“The need to develop a pathway from education and training to employment, career development, enterprise development and/or entrepreneurial pursuits in Woorabinda emerged from those meetings and CQUniversity, in partnership with Woorabinda community leaders, developed the concept of an Education/Enterprise/Research Hub to be implemented in Woorabinda.”

One of the first projects established was the delivery of a Certificate I in Conservation and Land Management qualification to a group of young men and women, in conjunction with the Woorabinda Pastoral Company, Yoonthalla Services, and the Queensland Government’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.

The participants have used the training to establish a Woorabinda Memorial Walk at a lagoon, which is culturally significant to the community, as the original meeting place for the 52 tribes that settled in Woorabinda.

The project, which involves the construction of a covered barbecue area, tables and chairs and a circular walkway, is progressing well in its early stages and several of the participants have secured employment with the Woorabinda Pastoral Company as a result.

Other projects include developing workshops for emerging artists and plans to develop the WASC-owned Duaringa Hall as an arts and tourism hub.

Mayor Cheyne Wilkie said the aim of the partnership with CQUniversity and the establishment of a hub was to provide meaningful employment opportunities to Woorabinda’s young people.

“We have a population mainly between the ages of 0-24 years and we’ve seen that there hasn’t really been a lot of employment opportunities for them,” he said,

“Education levels are pretty low here and we see this is as good progress of getting them into meaningful employment in areas of land management as rangers and with Greening Australia.

“We hope that we can have further talks with CQUni to strategise on how to do it better. Research is important in order to collect the data, so we need to have CQUni attached.”