04 March 2009

New Aboriginal Community Development Fund launched in Emerald

Under the shade of ancient Coolabah trees and on the banks of the meandering Policeman's Waterhole, a new programme has been launched that will help build capacity for the Kangoulu people, the Traditional Owners of the land upon which Kestrel operates, and the local Aboriginal community.

The reserve in the midst of Gordon Downs saw men and women from the Kangoulu people, along with Kestrel Mine employees, launch a new fund to help Indigenous people achieve their vision for the future of their community.

The ceremony marked the start of an initiative, in which the Kestrel Aboriginal Community Development Fund will provide $500,000 per year for projects and programs that can provide economic and social outcomes for the Aboriginal community.

"This new funding arises out of an historic land use agreement which secures economic and social wins for the Aboriginal community and will enable mining within traditional land areas," Kestrel Mine General Manager Operations, Tony Lennox, said.

"The types of programmes that we want to support through this fund are ones that will have positive, constructive and real outcomes for Aboriginal people in our region."

Mr Lennox said the fund was designed to include education and training initiatives, activities to protect and preserve both the local environment and its cultural heritage and programmes that improve employment opportunities.

"Despite the global financial impacts on the mining industry, Kestrel Mine is committed to continue its work with its neighbouring community and we see this fund as building further on our long term commitment to the Emerald and Capella region," Mr Lennox said.

"I am excited to see what creative ideas local organisations and groups can come up with."

A guidelines booklet and application form are available at www.riotintocoalaustralia.com.au.

Local organisations interested in applying for funding can also contact:
• Kestrel Aboriginal Community Development Fund executive officer Barry Hunter on 4984 7658

Media Enquiries:
Alison Smith
07 3361 4223

Media release _ New Aboriginal Community Development Fund launched in Emerald [PDF: 24 KB]