Aboriginal communities in the Alligator Rivers Region
Royce Namarnyilk, a Mirrar man, has been working at the Jabiru Field Station in the Alligator Rivers Region as a casual trainee since July 2014.
He is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to working with Aboriginal communities affected by the nearby Ranger uranium mine. Royce and fellow Aboriginal people assist with fieldwork or field-based projects run by the Supervising Scientist’s Jabiru Field Station to ensure that the environment is protected from the potential impacts of uranium mining activities.
Royce is engaged in on-the-job training including water and air monitoring and is able to take his knowledge back to his community at Madjinbardi.
“I’m learning how my country is being cared for,” Royce said.
These employment opportunities give Traditional Owners the chance to gain technical skills and exchange their knowledge of country with the Australian Government while gaining a greater understanding of the work that’s being done in their region.
“I am sharing my language, knowledge of bush tucker and country, also some dreamtime stories,” Royce said.
Each year the Australian Government works in partnership with the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation to complete the annual fish population and vegetation survey of the Alligators Rivers Region.
Pop-netting is an important element of the regular monitoring programme that the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (ERISS) undertakes.
“I have worked on the last two pop netting projects and have been working at ERISS since the last pop netting project in July 2014. I have learnt about the atmospheric sites, continuous water monitoring and toxicity monitoring,” Royce said.
The Australian Government has developed two videos for the Mirrar people in Kunwinjku language as part of their commitment to building relationships with Aboriginal communities in the Alligator Rivers Region and keeping them informed of the effects of uranium mining.
“My immediate family and extended family like and understand better what ERISS do to protect our country, from seeing the videos,” Royce said.
The videos explain the work that the Australian Government does to protect both the people and the environment and it also explains the fieldwork and lab work that takes place as part of the monitoring programmes.
The videos are an important resource for working with Traditional Owners and building positive and trusting relationships.