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As part of the Safeguarding Indigenous Led Forestry project, representatives from Plant Health Australia (PHA), the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (NT DITT), Queensland Department of Agriculture and Forestry (QDAF), and the University of Sunshine Coast met for a planning meeting in February 2024.

The meeting focussed on planning for two workshops in May with the aim to share project learnings with traditional owners and forest enterprises in East Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands. Participants also drew on achievements and lessons learned to identify potential activities that could be delivered to support positive outcomes for Indigenous forestry businesses into the future.

The meeting highlighted the importance of collaboration and ongoing engagement specifically, aligning training with Indigenous learning styles (incorporating storytelling and practical activities) and continuing to build relationships and trust with individuals over time.

The two-and-a-half-year project aims to strengthen the partnerships between Northern Australian biosecurity specialists, Indigenous forestry enterprises, and plant biosecurity researchers to boost biosecurity awareness and improve biosecurity practices to protect community-managed forestry businesses from exotic pests and diseases.

The project is funded under the Australian Government’s Biosecurity Business Grant and operationalises the objectives of the Northern Australia Biosecurity Strategy 2030 by enhancing coordination of biosecurity activities, implementing proactive surveillance and prevention activities, and investing in system-wide capability for the benefit of northern Australia.