It was a day of celebration at the eighth annual Riversleigh Open Day yesterday with more than 100 Waanyi Elders, special guests and people from Gulf communities recognising the achievements of seven pastoral trainees.
Showcasing their horsemanship skills during a friendly competition, the Waanyi trainees demonstrated just how far they have come since commencing a Certificate II in Agriculture – Beef Production.
The trainees live and work at Riversleigh Station, which is part of a 539,000 acre pastoral property operated by Lawn Hill Riversleigh Pastoral Holding Company (LHRPHC). Each year, the Company selects at-risk Waanyi youth interested in a career in the pastoral industry to participate in the two-year course.
At Riversleigh, the trainees learn and receive mentoring and support from experienced pastoralists. More than 36 young Indigenous people, ranging in age from 14 to 25, have gained qualifications in Beef Production since the training program began in 2002.
LHRPHC Chairwoman Shirley Chong said that the training program provides a unique opportunity for local Indigenous youth to gain formal qualifications and experience on a working cattle property in a supportive environment.
“I have been involved in the pastoral company since it was formed, and we strongly believe that we have a responsibility to help our young people develop and grow, both personally and professionally.
“With commitment and enthusiasm our young people can really prosper. We’ve seen many graduates from our program go on to achieve great things within the pastoral company and their own communities. It’s not an exaggeration to say that some of our graduates have had their lives completely changed by the program.
Ms Chong said that the program would not be such a success without the ongoing support of the local community and the dedication of those working with the trainees.
“The success of this program is really testament to the efforts and dedication of our Riversleigh employees who go above and beyond to help our trainees to reach their potential. We’re also fortunate to have the ongoing support of our local communities, who are our biggest advocates for the program.”
Located about 60 kilometres from MMG Century’s Lawn Hill site, Riversleigh was one of five pastoral properties purchased in 1997 during mine development. In accordance with the Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA), under which Century operates, these five pastoral properties are to be transferred to the appropriate Native Title Groups. Today, LHRPHC, which also includes the Lawn Hill pastoral property, is 51 percent owned by the Waanyi people and 49 percent owned by MMG Century.
High resolution photographs available
Communications Advisor, MMG Century
0417 117 753