The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) is one of three Aboriginal organisations recognised as South Australia’s first Aboriginal Regional Authorities, under the state’s landmark Aboriginal Regional Authority policy.
The announcement, made by State Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minster Kyam Maher, on July 5, is a significant decision.
Acting ATLA CEO Vince Coulthard says it’s a proud moment for the Aboriginal people in the Flinders Ranges.
“We believe that we’ve been operating in that way by particularly when dealing with developers who want to come into the country and do different things,” Mr Coulthard said.
“So this now confirms that position so we’ll play a role in what happens in our region.”
Working with the Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation and the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority, ATLA will form a new partnership with the state government to enhance the voice of Aboriginal people in decision-making and driving regional priorities and growth.
The announcement comes during national NAIDOC Week, the annual celebration of the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
ATLA represents the Adnyamathanha communities of the Flinders Ranges. The Association includes more than 20 different language groups.
It’s also involved in economic development opportunities (including purchasing the Wilpena Pound Resort) to enhance the wealth and financial autonomy of the Adnyamathanha people.
Acting ATLA CEO Vince Coulthard says ATLA has a proven track record in training Aboriginal people for jobs.
He also says they’re given skills not just for the local area but a skill set they can take around Australia.
“We’ve increased our employment levels from practically zero per-cent of Aboriginal people there to 58 per-cent,” Mr Coulthard said.
“It’s not all just Adnyamathanha people, it’s also Aboriginal people from the region.”
There are ample opportunities to rehabilitate the Leigh Creek Mine such as land rehabilitation and potential tourism.
However Acting ATLA CEO Vince Coulthard says the Leigh Creek Airport, which according to Coulthard, has a big enough strip to land a Boeing 737, represents a huge opportunity.
“If you think about that, if we can get some of the major airlines to fly in there, it’s going to be great for tourism in the area,” Mr Coulthard said.
“It also opens up opportunities in other industry.”
State Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minster Kyam Maher says this announcement is a positive step for the entire Aboriginal community.