On the 29th July 2020, we celebrated a historic and exciting moment for our community here in Newman. It was the day where Nyiyaparli and Martu came together to sign a Cultural Compact, inviting all of us, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal to walk a new pathway with mutual respect to build a strong future together.
Given Newman’s diverse community, the Cultural Compact will be incredibly important in supporting and encouraging industry, local businesses and community members alike to work together in culturally appropriate ways that build and strengthen the community, ensuring all voices are heard.
Newman Futures, a partnership project between BHP, the Shire of East Pilbara and the Department of Communities have been working closely with Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation and Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation on this Cultural Compact over the last year and were excited to share this significant moment with the broader community at a special community event on Wednesday evening.
Both Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation and the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation are incredibly important organisations in the Pilbara. As two Prescribed Body Corporates, they represent two very special groups each with their own rich and unique history. Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation represents the Nyiyaparli people, and the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation represents the Martu people.
The Cultural Compact, and in fact the foundation of the Newman Futures strategy is based around Kujunkarrinjanka. It’s a Martu word and it means “Coming Together”. With four key workstreams – Education and Training, Culture and Country, Liveability and Wellbeing and Economy and Work, and a range of initiatives being work on across sectors, Kujunkarrinjanka is everything that Newman Futures is about. A powerful word that unites different community members, each with our own strengths to work together to ensure a brighter future for everyone in Newman, with a strong economy and a powerful, united community.
During the event, Bradley Hall, Chair of Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation , joined with Melvin Famer, Chair of the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation, spoke warmly about the significance of the process and what the Compact meant to them. A special Welcome to Country was also given by Stanley Watson, a senior Nyiyaparli man.
BHP Principal of Corporate Affairs, Chris Cottier chaired the event and said he was “proud to have been able to work so closely with both Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation and the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation on this journey”.
In true Newman style, families enjoyed a sausage sizzle, children played on the grass and parents, colleagues and friends enjoyed watching the short Youth Voices film directed by local filmmakers, Curtis Taylor and Nathan Mewitt, along with a special screening of the documentary In My Blood It Runs.
A big thank you goes out to Bradley Hall and the Karlka team, Melvin Farmer and the team at WDLAC, Chris Cottier and Sue Michoff from BHP, Shire of East Pilbara President Lynne Craigie and CEO Jeremy Edwards, Shire Councillors and everyone else who joined us at the event!
With the Compact signed and the celebration finished, now comes the exciting part – where local businesses, not-for-profits and community groups and members can get involved.