April 13, 2024
ETNTAC

On 14 March 2014, the Federal Court of Australia recognised the Native Title rights of the Wudjari Nyungars (also known as the Esperance Nyungars).

The recognition of our Native Title confirmed that prior to, upon, and continuing after the arrival of Europeans in Kepa Kurl (Esperance), Wudjari Traditional Owners had a system of laws and customs that sustainably cared for Boodja (Country) for thousands of years. 

Many of our Elders who led us through the long and difficult Native Title claim process and were present in the Federal Court on the day the historical truth of their connection to Country was recognised by Australia’s legal system – are no longer with us.  Today we remember them. 

We hope that our Elders and all our Ancestors are proud of what has been achieved and the legacy created for our future generations who can walk with their heads held high and pride in their hearts”, remarked Ms Annie Dabb, past inaugural co-Chairperson of ETNTAC.

Together our community has worked hard to establish Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation as the representative body for the Wudjari Nyungars and the first point of contact for government and others who want to do business with Traditional Owners.

While centered on its members, ETNTAC extends its services to all locally based First Nations peoples, fostering unity and collaboration within the Esperance community.

“Ten years of dedication, resilience, and progress underscore our commitment to empowering the Wudjari Nyungar people and the Kepa Kurl community,” remarked, Ms. Gail Reynolds-Adamson, Chairperson of ETNTAC. “As we reflect on our journey, we celebrate not only our achievements but also the enduring spirit of cooperation that propels us forward.”

    Our contribution over the past 10 years includes:

  • Direct contribution of approximately $40million to the Esperance economy. Spent in local businesses, the creation of new jobs and capital acquisitions.
  • Created new employment opportunities every year and become the largest employer of First Nations persons in the region.
  • Grown our workforce from 1 employee in 2017 to 76 employees (including part-time and casual) in 2024.  83% of our current workforce are Aboriginal Australians.

Recently, ETNTAC submitted its projected expenditure over the next 10 years for review by Econisis, an expert applied economics consultancy firm based in Brisbane.  Econisis found that over the next decade, ETNTAC’s expenditure is projected to directly and indirect inject up to $89.0 million into the local Esperance economy, supporting up 57.3 full time local jobs each year.

Our dedication to securing a united Nyungar future has been unwavering. By engaging in cultural and community initiatives like the Driver Access Equity Programs (DAEP), Educational programs, Wellbeing Initiatives such as our self-funded dental program, NAIDOC Celebrations, we have strengthened bonds and created opportunities for growth and understanding. Our sustainable development practices have not only preserved the environment but also contributed to the overall prosperity of the region. ETNTAC’s 10-year Native title anniversary will be further commemorated during NAIDOC celebrations in August 2024.

However, significant work remains. The enduring effects of colonization on Wudjari families, coupled with government policies that forcibly removed Aboriginal children from their families and marginalized Aboriginal individuals from the economy, continue to manifest in Esperance today. Dispossessed of their lands, the intergenerational wealth of our people has been unjustly taken away.

ETNTAC is committed to supporting the First Nations community re-build that wealth not only by tackling the structural barriers to land and home ownership but also by supporting our families uphold their cultural responsibility to care for Country.  Caring for Boodja is part of ongoing and deeply held cultural tradition, which is intimately tied to existence, sustainment, and protection of cultural heritage.  Traditional Owners inherit this responsibility for their ancestors and bequeath it to their children.

To support the First Nations community, uphold their custodianship responsibility, ETNTAC has designed a comprehensive and locally fit for purpose model to close the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal families and the wider community.

ETNTAC’s closing the gap model has also been review by Econisis, an expert applied economics consultancy firm based in Brisbane. If ETNTAC is able to secure resourcing the deliver, Econisis has found that the successful implementation of our model over the next 10 years will direct and in directly contribute up to $113.5million in additional economic activity to Esperance.  Econisis also found that funding ETNTAC’s closing the gap model would provide a return on investment to the State of WA, Esperance community and regional economy of $2.24 for every $1 invested.

In commemorating the 10 year anniversary of the recognition of Native Title, ETNTAC reaffirms its unwavering dedication to advocating for the interests of all First Nations families in Esperance. Through collaboration, inclusivity, and a shared vision of progress, ETNTAC looks ahead to the next decade with optimism and determination.

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Media Contact

Gail Reynolds-Adamson, Chairperson: [email protected]