Fighting Fire with Fire
Kimberly Land Council, Australia
The Kimberley Land Council (KLC) has been delivering innovative Indigenous community development to members for almost 40 years and has developed a strategy for overcoming the key challenges facing Indigenous communities in the north west of Australia, to achieve remote jobs, training, education and health outcomes. This approach nurtures a culture of entrepreneurship in remote Indigenous communities, increases the number of people employed on country and delivers significant environmental outcomes of benefit to the global community.
Managing the regions unique natural resources through Indigenous land management plays a critical role in protecting the Kimberley’s rich cultural and environmental heritage. Traditional fire management, or ‘right way fire’, uses traditional knowledge and modern science practices to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere from unmanaged, potential dangerous wildfires.
An example is the North Kimberley Fire Abatement Project. The project registered Australia’s only savanna burning carbon project on traditional native title lands, which improve fire regimes through best practice management. Australian Research demonstrates that by shifting fire regimes in the tropical north from late dry season to the early dry season – in line with Traditional Indigenous fire practices – it is possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from wildfire by as much as half and produce valid carbon credits for carbon markets. There are now 65 projects registered across northern Australia, worth over $100M, employing over 400 Indigenous rangers. A study by the United Nation University has found this technology could deliver the types of outcomes evidenced in Australia, in global savanna woodland, such as market based mitigation and adaptation, as well as, economic and social benefits to poor and remote communities.
Nolan Hunter has been the Chief Executive Officer at the Kimberley Land Council since October 2011. He proudly identifies as a Bardi man from the Dampier Peninsular in northern Western Australia and has a strong connection to his people and a deep appreciation and understanding of his culture.
Nolan’s career includes almost 27 years of strategic management background and 14 years in the Commonwealth public service including Indigenous, immigration and humanitarian affairs. He has been a Senior Migration Officer and Vice Consul with the Australian Consulate in Manchester, has served as a director of several Kimberley Indigenous organisations including Broome Aboriginal Media Association and is on the board for Kimberley Foundation Australia; and has been the Chairman of the National Native Title Council since 2011.
He has represented Kimberley Land Council at the UNFCCC Twenty First Conference of the Parties in Paris (2015), presenting the North Kimberley Fire Abatement Project and the Kimberley Land Councils experience managing fire regimes to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions; the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues (2015), advocating against the closure of remote Indigenous communities; the World Parks Congress on Indigenous Cultural Ecological knowledge (2014), inspiring solutions about protected areas and national parks and the Wild10 Conference in Spain (2013), discussing Indigenous people’s role in conservation and land management.
Nolan is an active campaigner for Indigenous native title rights and management of country. He strongly supports the development of sustainable business enterprises based on Aboriginal cultural values as a way to generate wealth in remote communities, ignite social change and create positive futures for Kimberley Aboriginal people.