Achievements and the future
The NLE was inaugurated in July 2017 after approximately two years of support for formation from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). This support has allowed the Noongar landholders, and subsequent members of NLE, to develop strong foundations of governance and high standards for its membership criteria. We have achieved a number of milestones as a new grower group including strategic planning, incorporation, and the election of executive positions including; Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and Executive Officer.
Staff and funding
With an Executive Officer (EO) employed by the NLE, the group was able to apply for funding. In July 2017, we secured funding for a project entitled, “Noongar Land Enterprise Group – Driving the success of innovative and mainstream Aboriginal primary production”. This funding was provided through the Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program managed by the Southern Cross University. The project aims to assess the capability of its member’s land, and people resources to move from passive land management to successful land use enterprises. This project has investigated the aspirations of NLE members both on an economic, cultural, social and environmental level. The NLE is now in the process of seeking project funding from the National Landcare Smart Farming Partnership program to help investigate and test land use options which will lead to business enterprises such as bush foods, cultural tourism and sandalwood production.
The success of our strategic objectives will be measured by the transition and progress of our members in developing sustainable business enterprises and realising social and cultural aspirations. This includes the transitional steps of business planning, business structures and funding arrangements. The level of engagement of individuals in the process of business development, employment and active involvement with landholdings will be a measure of success. A successful NLE will attract more Noongar landholders. Members will benefit from experience, scale and the capacity that a strong functioning grower group can offer. New members will bring more scale to the organisation which will have benefits in supplying markets with Indigenous produced products, and services.
We have a key role in market development of our products and services. As an organisation, the NLE has the potential to create scale, and to facilitate the pathway to market and for branding member’s products and services. In the initial stage of business development, the NLE has an important role in assisting its members with business planning and development to create a reliable supply of products and services. Property assessments have been an important process to identify the business development opportunities for each farm based on current capacity. We can facilitate market information and demand for Indigenous products and services and provide feedback to our members. We will work with other partners to progress Indigenous branding of products such as a Noongar branded lamb products. We are in negotiations with a honey processor interested in Indigenous produced honey for the Chinese market.
Long term economic sustainability for NLE
We are currently a not for profit, incorporated grower group. This structure offers benefits and opportunities during the formative and business development stages of the NLE. Our priority is to assist the development of business enterprises on our member properties through direct funding for our operations. This funding will also allow our staff to attract further funding through Government, charitable and commercial opportunities and projects. Support will also allow members to revisit and plan strategic direction on a regular basis including the longer-term strategy of the group. The success of the NLE is linked to the success of our members, and we do have the potential to form a cooperative structure in the future. This is a logical pathway to ensuring the long-term sustainability of our organisation and further supporting our members.