Local Land Services working with indigenous businesses to improve local travelling stock reserves

Local Land Services is working with Central West Indigenous-owned businesses to improve local travelling stock reserves (TSRs) and better understand their cultural values.

First Peoples Solutions, a Central West-based Indigenous business, has been working on Mary Gilmore Way TSR near Grenfell to improve the native vegetation and record some of the cultural elements of the site.

This project is an example of the Local Land Services Reconciliation Action Plan in real life and builds on the principles of NAIDOC week, said Land Services Officer, Stephen Pereira.

"The Mary Gilmore Way TSR work is an opportunity to partner with Indigenous businesses and help share cultural understanding with our community," Mr Pereira said.

"That's a really positive result for all involved."

First Peoples Solutions provides land management and maintenance work, and also runs an essential oil business.

Their work with Local Land Services has mainly been to thin invasive white cypress pine, said First Peoples Solutions Director, Phil Thompson.

"Once the dense pine is opened up, grasses can re-establish, and ants, beetles, lizards and birds can return," Mr Thompson said.

"It has been amazing how quickly bird life has returned - we've returned to the site two weeks after the initial thinning to find yellow-breasted robins return.

"Insects in particular seem to benefit from thinning, which has a flow on effect on the environment.

"For example, we are working on a mining site near Dubbo. The thinned sites have more ant nests, which in turn benefit an endangered lizard which feeds on them."

First People Solutions uses the thinned white cypress pine biomass to extract essential oils to use in its Native Secrets essential oils range.

The TSR project has also seen local Indigenous people invited on site to learn more about the area's values.

"Senior Wiradjuri Elder Peter Peckham works with us as a cultural advisor and plays an integral role in meeting protocols and cultural responsibilities," Mr Thompson said.

"Some of the local community joined Peter on site to understand how to identify cultural assets. For us, it's about working with the local community and helping share knowledge."

CULTURAL VALUE: Aaron, Luke, Phil Thompson, Stephen Pereira, Senior Wiradjuri Elder Peter Peckham and Terry Carroll. Photo: Deidre Carroll

CULTURAL VALUE: Aaron, Luke, Phil Thompson, Stephen Pereira, Senior Wiradjuri Elder Peter Peckham and Terry Carroll. Photo: Deidre Carroll

Terry Carroll, a Grenfell local and Aboriginal man, joined Peter and others for walk through the TSR.

"The day was fascinating; Peter showed us some of the cultural elements of the site, including scar trees and bush tucker," Mr Carroll said.

"It was a great chance to learn more about Aboriginal heritage and how people have lived here for thousands of years."